The Wildcats closed out their regular season schedule on Saturday afternoon with an A.I.I. matchup at Northern New Mexico College.
The contest began with back and forth scoring from the two sides with the Wildcats jumping out front 11-6 midway through the opening quarter. The Eagles rallied to cut the 'Cats lead to one but the Wildcats took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter. The Eagles opened the second quarter on a small scoring run to lead 27-19 at the three minute mark as JWU tried to get their offense going again. At halftime, Northern New Mexico led 31-24.
The second half began with Johnson & Wales making up some ground but the Eagles regrouped and pushed their lead back up to nine points. JWU continued to chip away and brought the NNMC lead down to three points with 3:09 left in the third. The 'Cats maintained their momentum into the fourth and tied the game 48-48 off a McCorra Ford (Gillette, Wyo.) jumper with 7:48 left. The Wildcats tried to keep the pace but Northern New Mexico was able to hold off the late push and capture the 61-57 victory.
Ford had 15 points for Johnson & Wales and Cara McNiff (Aurora, Colo.) and Andromeda Sales (Blackhawk, Colo.) added 14 and 12 points respectively. Ford brought down a game high 18 rebounds, capturing her 13th double-double of the season. Cheyenne Cordova had 20 points for Northern New Mexico and Ashley John finished with 17 rebounds.
The Wildcats have earned a spot in the 2017 A.I.I. Basketball Championships beginning February 24 in Point Lookout, Missouri on the campus of College of the Ozarks. They will find out their game time and opponent on Monday.