|EMCC Lady Lions Earn Berth in NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship|
CLINTON, Miss. -- The Lady Lions of East Mississippi earned a berth in the 2009 NJCAA Division I Women's National Basketball Championship by claiming a 52-43 victory over ninth-ranked Copiah-Lincoln in Thursday's title game of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament played at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
This year's 16-team NJCAA Division I Women's National Basketball Championship will take place March 17-21 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kansas. The tournament will be played using a false double-elimination format beginning on Tuesday, March 17.
Having earned the North Division regular-season championship with an 11-1 divisional record, coach Sharon Thompson's 24-5 Lady Lions had previously knocked off Northwest Mississippi (47-44) and MACJC state champion Jones County (76-73) on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, to advance to Thursday's title tilt. EMCC's nine-point win over the Lady Wolves in the regional championship game avenged a pair of regular-season losses to Co-Lin (69-50 in Wesson and 62-43 in Scooba).
Trailing, 5-0, after the opening two minutes of play, EMCC scored a dozen unanswered points during a seven-minute stretch in which Co-Lin was unable to produce a point. The Lady Wolves battled back to knot the score at 15-15 with 5:10 remaining in the half. Following an 8-0 Co-Lin run, Lady Lion sophomore forward Angelique Burtts scored seven straight points to help East Mississippi maintain a 22-19 halftime lead.
Freshman forward Martika Hull keyed a 14-6 EMCC run to open the second stanza and extend the Lady Lions’ advantage to double digits eight minutes into the half. The former Southeast Lauderdale standout tallied eight points during the stretch, including a pair of three-point plays, to put EMCC on top, 36-25, with 12:19 remaining. The Lady Wolves rallied one final time with a 9-2 spurt to pull to within three points (43-40) by the 5:04 mark. Countering with consecutive buckets by Burtts and Starkville’s Sanitra Bush to go back up by seven, EMCC essentially put the contest away with another three-point play by Hull with two minutes left. With the Lady Lions working the clock down the stretch, Co-Lin only managed a single point – a free throw by Rhonda Dumas at the 1:16 mark – over the final three minutes of the contest.
Burtts led the way for the Lady Lions in the regional finals by registering her eighth double-double of the season and third of the postseason with 20 points and 13 rebounds for EMCC. The Georgia State signee also added four steals, an assist and a block in the victory. Hull scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added seven rebounds to garner all-tournament honors. Hull was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore point guard Kottia White of Jackson Murrah High School. Jasmine Abrams of Columbus continued her steady defensive play in the postseason with 10 rebounds and four blocks to go along with her five points.
Regular-season champions of the South Division and MACJC state runners-up to Jones County, Copiah-Lincoln was limited to just 24-percent shooting (16-of-68 FGs) by the Lady Lions in the regional championship, including just 2-of-21 from beyond the three-point arc. The Lady Wolves were led by Shareka Hunt and Rachel Vigers with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
East Mississippi will be making the school's first appearance in the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Basketball Championship since claiming national runner-up honors with a 31-1 record during the 1977-78 season. That EMCC women's team was guided by 1977-78 NJCAA Region VII Coach of the Year Richard Mathis, currently the athletic director and men's basketball coach at Pearl River Community College. The 1977-78 EMJC Lionettes were led by All-American Jessie Brown, who averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds per game as a sophomore before moving on to star at Delta State.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 06 March 2009 )|
|< Prev||Next >|