The Wildcats began their final home game of the 2016-17 season by honoring their three seniors. McCorra Ford (Gillette, Wyo.), Vanessa Maestas (Thornton, Colo.) and Caitlyn Steffen (Winchester, Va.) were recognized for their commitment to the Wildcat program.
As the Saturday afternoon contest against Northern New Mexico got underway, the two teams traded buckets early as neither was able to get a strong run going. JWU jumped out in front 11-6 just under the five minute mark of the first quarter. The sides swapped leads with Northern New Mexico holding the 23-18 advantage.
The Eagles pushed their lead up to eight points early in the second quarter as the 'Cats looked for their opportunity to fight their way back in. NNMC extended the lead to 12 before the Wildcats began their comeback. The 'Cats put together an offensive run that allowed them to take the 39-37 lead off a jumper by Ford with 96 seconds left in the half. After 20 minutes of play, Johnson & Wales led Northern New Mexico 41-39.
In the second half, the Wildcats matched the Eagles bucket for bucket before JWU started to build some distance. With 2:13 left in the third, Dominique Riley (Arvada, Colo.) hit a three pointer to push JWU's lead to 54-48. The 'Cats continued to push but the Eagles wouldn't back down. Down the stretch, JWU were able to put together a late run to capture the 81-74 victory.
Ford led all players with 30 points and had eight rebounds. Andromeda Sales (Black Hawk, Colo.) had a game high 11 rebounds for Johnson & Wales. Demetria Clichee finished with 24 points and Ashley John had 10 rebounds for Northern New Mexico.
The two teams will meet again next weekend in Espanola, New Mexico to wrap up the regular season.