SALINA, Kan. — How sweet it is!!!
Shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, the 2013 NJCAA champion Lady Cardinals pulled intot he parking lot in front of Cardinal Gym. They were greeted by over a 100 cheering fans. Wearing broad smiles, they departed the bus with the championship trophy hoisted high above their heads. The hugging and photo taking began.
That pretty much summed up and put a wrap on a week in which the Lady Cardinals won their seventh national title and second straight.
For the record, the Lady Cardinals scored an 83-71 win against Central Arizona in the NJCAA title game Saturday night at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, KS. It was the third straight year they had appeared in the final game of the tournament and the third time they had faced Central Arizona for the title.
In addition to keeping the Lady Cardinals atop the world of NJCAA women's basketball, the win gave them an official 36-1 record for the season. On the court (not counting the forfeit to Weatherford in December for a lack of healthy eligible players), they were 36-0 for a second consecutive year.
Against Central Arizona, the Lady Cardinals built a 46-33 halftime lead. Shlonte' Allen led four players in double figures with 22 points. Krystle Henderson and Shannon Smith had 14 each and Adut Bulgak 10. Savannah Carter tossed in nine.
Victoria Wells finished with seven points and led the Lady Cardinals with seven rebounds. She also had one block and one steal.
Roddricka Patton led the defensive effort, which forced 18 Central Arizona turnovers. Patton had a game-high five steals.
Central Arizona, which has four national titles (second to the Lady Cardinals' seven) and has lost in the title game four times, closed the year 32-2 (both losses to the Lady Cardinals).
Smith, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. She was the top Lady Cardinal scorer in three of their four games and averaged 22.0 points per game. She shot 52.8 percent from the floor.