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WCCC women's team locks up top seed in conference tournament

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 1:03 p.m.
Westmoreland County Community College's Danielle Murphy (15) scores past Lorain County Community College defenders Holly Benetto (5) and Nicole Gentile (21) during their game at WCCC in Youngwood on Wednesday February 06, 2013. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Community College's Hannah Falcsik (23) pulls down a rebound over Lorain County Community College's Holly Benetto (5) and Nikki Kent (35) during their game at WCCC in Youngwood on Wednesday February 06, 2013. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Community College's Hannah Falcsik launches a shot during a game against Lorain County Community College at WCCC in Youngwood on Wednesday February 06, 2013. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Community College's Danielle Murphy drives for a layup as teammate Hannah Falcsik (23) looks on during a game against Lorain County Community College at WCCC in Youngwood on Wednesday February 06, 2013. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

The Westmoreland County Community College women's basketball team has locked up the No. 1 seed in the WPCC conference tournament with the help of two local stars — Hempfield grads Danielle Murphy and Hannah Falcsik.

“The key has been teamwork,” coach Scott Hillen said. “We have worked hard together, played well as a team and have gelled well together.”

Murphy, a freshman guard/forward, has led the Wolfpack (19-4, 5-0) with 17.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Murphy scored a season-high 28 points and had five rebounds against Penn State Greater Allegheny in a 68-59 win on Jan. 21.

“Danielle has been shooting a high 3-point percentage and is in the top 20 in scoring,” Hillen said. “She does a lot of little things besides scoring. She's a quiet leader for us on the team.”

She also scored 27 points, with five 3-pointers and six steals against Anne Arundel Community College in an 85-57 win in November.

“Our coach set high expectations for our team this year. We get along well. There is pretty good team chemistry, and it shows out on the court,” Murphy said.

Falcsik is second on the team in scoring with 15 ppg and averages 14.1 rebounds. She scored 24 points and had 18 rebounds against Pittsburgh-Titusville in an 83-49 win in November.

“Hannah is a force in the paint for us,” Hillen said. “She shoots a high percentage from the floor.”

The two local graduates have major factors in the Wolfpack's success this season and hopefully are building blocks for a program that only started six seasons ago.

“They don't shoot a lot. I wish they did but they try to get the other players involved. They feed off the other players,” Hillen said. “I hope we can bring in the Quad-A players. I think our area is filled with talented kids, and if we raise awareness about our program that will help us out.”

Late last month, Hillen picked up his — and the program's — 100th victory, a 50-38 win over CCAC-Allegheny.

“It's great for the program. It shows people in the area that we have good program and we have a successful program,” Hillen explained. “It also represents the young ladies who have put in hard work at the beginning of the program and to see where it it's at today.”

Hillen hopes for continued success in the playoffs and also hopes to have players move on to the next level thanks to the program's success.

The Wolfpack finished as regional champion runner-up twice throughout their program's history. Hillen is hoping for a regional championship and berth to the National Junior College Championship Tournament.

“That's our ultimate goal: to prepare themselves to move on as far as playing-wise or academically. It's always nice to see players move on and play and be successful,” Hillen said. “Whether it's basketball or academics, with getting them to a college with a major they want. If we can help them move on and get a scholarship or be where they want to be, that's our ultimate goal.”

The Wolfpack will open the WPCC tournament Friday. The playoffs then continue at the Region XX Basketball Championships, where the Wolfpack are currently seeded second, held at Prince Georges Community College in Maryland from Feb. 22-24.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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