Mar 3, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCentral Wyoming College shocked some teams last year at the Region IX women's basketball tournament, advancing all the way to the semifinal round.
This year, the CWC Rustlers have a No. 6 seed from the North division.
The tournament opens Sunday in Scottsbluff, Neb.
Western Nebraska Community College captured the South division to earn the right to be the host team in the single-elimination tournament.
CWC begins the postseason at 5 p.m. Monday against McCook College (23-7 overall).
"I think that at tournament time the intensity picks up naturally," CWC women's coach Serol Stauffenberg said.
"Everybody has put in a lot of work since early September until now. It's on the line. It's win or go home."
McCook is the No. 3 seed from the South. McCook was 6-6 in conference play. CWC ended the year with a 14-16 overall mark. The Rustlers were 7-9 in conference.
"We didn't have our eyes on the No. 6 seed when we started," Stauffenberg said.
"We are also in a tough region in the North. We have played four teams that are ranked."
Region IX North teams Western Wyoming, Casper College, Sheridan College and Gillette College all have been ranked in the top 25 junior college poll for women's basketball at some time during the year.
"We are not the No. 6 seed among a bunch of bad teams," Stauffenberg said. "We played against some pretty good competition."
CWC lost a triple-overtime thriller to Western at Rustler Gym.
The Rustlers split vs. Casper College for its best victory of the season.
"We play some pretty tough teams day in and day out," Stauffenberg said.
"They haven't had success in the polls except for Western Nebraska getting back in there."
The winner of CWC-McCook plays the winner of Western Wyoming-Trinidad at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday. The title game is at 6 p.m. Thursday.
CWC guard Marissa Hogan and center Stephanie Smith are two of the pivotal players for Stauffenberg.
Hogan ended the regular season last week hitting 10 3-pointers in one game vs. Little Big Horn College.
"Marissa is shooting the ball very well for us," Stauffenberg said.
"She is one of those that we have to have on. When she is on, it opens up the middle. Marissa has a lot more confidence shooting the ball. She is putting the ball on the floor better."
Smith is leading the nation in blocked shots at a little over four per game.
Stephanie is continuing to play well for us," Stauffenberg said.
"That is impressive on how many blocked shots she has."
Forward Porsha Wadsworth did reach double figures last week for the Rustlers.
"Porsha is playing better for us," Stauffenberg said. "A lot of it is who we match up against. If we get a mix when there isn't a lot of height to start with.
Emily Smith is the top scorer for Stauffenberg.
"Emily has shown that she can score," Stauffenberg said. "Everybody else has to score three or four points. We can't expect to have 20 turnovers and win a Region IX tournament game."
Abbey Wilson is running the point for CWC. Wilson was pushed into the position after regular starting point guard Tina Hosea was lost for the season last month with a knee injury.
"Abbey is another player that is shooting the ball well right now," Stauffenberg said.
"She has been put in a tough spot. She has done job of."
Region IX opening round
Women's basketball schedule
in Scottsbluff, Neb
Sunday, 1 p.m. -- Dawson Community College (No. 8 seed/North) vs. Sheridan College (No. 1 seed/North).
Monday, 1 p.m. -- Otero College (No. 4 seed/South) vs. Northwest Wyoming (No. 5 seed/North).
Monday, 3 p.m. - Gillette College (No. 3 seed/North) vs. Northeast College (No. 6 seed/South).
Sunday, 3 p.m. -- Eastern Wyoming College (No. 2 seed/South) s. Miles Community College / No. 7 seed).
Sunday, 5 p.m. -- Western Wyoming Community College (No. 2 seed/North) vs. Trinidad College (No. 7 seed/South).
Monday, 5 p.m. -- Central Wyoming College (No. 6 seed/North) vs. McCook (No. 3 seed/South).
Monday, 7 p.m. -- Casper College (No. 4 seed/ North) vs. Lamar (No. 5 seed/South).
Sunday, 7 p.m. -- Western Nebraska Community College (No. 1 seed/South) vs. Little Big Horn College (No. 9 seed/North.
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