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Enter the house of Payne

Freshman guard Ashli Payne ties UCC women’s single game scoring record
Dennis Wahlman / Mainstream
Freshman guard Ashli Payne ties UCC women’s single game scoring record

With the kind of season that 5’11’’ freshman guard Ashli Payne has been having, opponents in the NWAACC take notice.  Payne’s 53 point performance in a Feb. 1 victory against Portland spoke volumes. Payne recorded one of the greatest individual performances in UCC women’s basketball history.

 “She was in the zone,” coach Stricklin stated.  Payne, a Bremerton, Washington native, shot 75 percent from the field on 18 out of 24 shots, including 5 out of 5 from the 3-point range.  She was 12 out of 13 from the free throw line, while pulling down 11 boards and dishing out two assists. 

Payne’s overall consistency may be the single most impressive aspect of her season. In 16 of the Riverhawk’s 23 games this season, Payne recorded a double-double in points and rebounds. Her averages of 18.83 points per game, 10.30 rebounds place her in the top five of the entire NWAACC. In addition, Payne is one of the top 20 players in field goal and 3-point percentage, ranking her in four out of the eight most important statistical categories.

During the biggest games of the season, the easy thing to do is wilt under the pressure. Payne steps up.   In a Jan 11 match-up against NWAACC South rival Lane Community College, Ashli stepped up with a career high in scoring, by registering 38 points.  In the three games this season against Lane, Payne averaged 28.66 points, 10.6 boards and three assists per contest.

Riverhawk fans hope for that kind of consistency once the 16 team NWAACC tournament begins March 1. The UCC women want to bring home their first championship since 2000, and the third overall in the past 18 seasons.