|EMCC Lady Lions top Southwest in MACJC state hoops tournament opener|
ELLISVILLE, Miss. – The top-seeded Lady Lions of East Mississippi claimed a 67-58 victory over fourth-seeded Southwest Mississippi in Monday’s opening round of the 2009 MACJC State Basketball Tournament at Jones County’s Bobcat Gymnasium.
Extending their winning streak to 11 consecutive games, coach Sharon Thompson’s 21-4 Lady Lions advance to face the host Lady Bobcats of Jones County, who improved to 20-6 on the year with Monday night’s 99-76 first-round tournament triumph over Northwest Mississippi. Wednesday’s semifinal-round contest between EMCC and JCJC is slated for a 5 p.m. tip-off. The Lady Lions swept Jones County during the regular season, claiming a 78-76 win in Ellisville to open the season and posting an 86-57 home win over the Lady Bobcats in December.
In Monday’s tournament opener on the JCJC campus, the EMCC women overcame some early sluggishness to make it a one-point contest by halftime. With the Lady Lions trailing, 25-17, with three minutes remaining in the half, Brittani Jones of Eatonton, Ga., nailed a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 EMCC run. Sophomore Kottia White of Jackson Murrah followed with a trey of her own as the half ended to keep it a one-point contest (28-27) at the break in favor of the Lady Bears.
After Southwest went ahead, 34-31, on consecutive buckets by Octavia Bearden, East Mississippi reeled off eight unanswered points to go on top, 39-34, with 13:33 left. A 3-pointer by Starkville’s Sanitra Bush and a put-back basket by Jasmine Abrams of Columbus capped the rally that put EMCC ahead for good.
With the Lady Lions looking to lengthen the lead, SMCC’s Bearden struck again by hitting back-to-back field goals to cut the Lady Bears’ deficit to a single point (48-47) with six minutes remaining. However, Southwest would not score again from the field until Alisha Rayborn hit a leaning jumper in the lane with a minute left. EMCC took advantage of SMCC’s cold shooting by outscoring the Lady Bears, 10-1, over the five-minute span. The game-changing spurt was ignited by another Abrams follow-up basket and a subsequent three-point play by Martika Hull.
Following some inconsistent free-throw shooting through much of the second stanza, East Mississippi connected on 9-of-10 from the charity stripe over the final minute of the contest to seal the nine-point tournament victory and advance to Wednesday’s second-round action.
A freshman from Southeast Lauderdale, Hull finished with a team-high 17 points in addition to collecting nine rebounds and five steals. White followed with 14 points and four assists for the winners, while Abrams notched her second straight double-double (and fourth of the season) with 10 points and a team-most 10 boards off the EMCC bench.
Bearden registered a double-double for the Lady Bears with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Ivielle Stewart with 11 points off the SMCC bench.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 23 February 2009 )|
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