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March 21, 2013

NJCAA WOMEN'S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Here we go again

Fourth meeting set for today at 1 p.m. for chance at national semifinals

SALINA, Kan. — The matchup is set on the road to the NJCAA “Final Four” this Friday at the NJCAA Women’s National Championship.

The No. 1 ranked Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals and the No. 9 ranked Blinn Buccaneers will meet for the fourth time this season on the hardwood.

The game is set to tip-off at 1 p.m. for a chance to face either No. 4 seed Gulf Coast and No. 5 Shelton State.

The winner of Thursday’s game moves on to a 3 p.m. “Final Four” matchup against the winner of Thursday’s other quarterfinal between No. 4 seed Gulf Coast and No. 5 seed Shelton State.

In three previous matchups this season, the Lady Cards have dominated two of the three matchups.

TVCC won the first meeting, 89-72 in January and then defeated them in the Region XIV championship 69-58 in Tyler.

The close game between the two teams was a, 94-88 overtime victory in the regular season finale at Cardinal Gymnasium.

“We know they are going to be pumped up for the game tomorrow and they are very well coached,” First-year coach Elena Lovato said Wednesday morning via phone call.

The Blinn Buccaneers come into the game with co-MVP Audrisa Harrison, Jazzmin Parker and Fatima Adams.

Elena said one of the key areas the team would be working on during practice on Wednesday would be their post defense, after they allowed 46 points in the pain during their, 75-70, win over Weatherford in the opening game of the second round on Tuesday.

“We are going to work on our post defense and making sure that the kids know the officials are going to let us play during this tournament,” Lovato said.

In that game, the Lady Cardinals started out somewhat slow as they found themselves in a, 20-6, whole in the first six minutes of theballgame.

TVCC relied on their defensive pressure to cut the lead back to 39-38 at the half and held their biggest lead at 14 points in the second half.

TVCC also had four players in foul trouble during the game as Shlonte’ Allen, Savannah Carter, Victoria Wells and Krystle Henderson had four fouls in the game.

In that game, the Lady Cards received solid play from sophomore Shannon Smith with 20 points, while Henderson scored 13 points and Adut Bulgak had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Lovato said turnovers were a big issue for her team as they gave up 19 turnovers in the game.

Blinn comes into the contest winning their first two games of the tournament.

They defeated the Kaskaskia College Blue Angels from Illinois, 72-63, in their first game.

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers defeated, Darton State (Ga.), 79-72, for their 31st win of the year.

Parker led the way in thea win against Darton State with 23 points, while Harrison scored 15 points and Adams added 14 points.

Lovato said even with this being a Region XIV battle on the national stage, both teams will be coming out ready to play.

She knows Blinn will be fired up since this will be the final time they will play each other this year.

“I know with them being a very well coached team they are going to come out fired up and ready to play,” Lovato said. “We know they are going to want to come out and beat us in a big game like this one.”

With a win over Blinn today, the Lady Cardinals will make their 10th national semifinal game. In nine previous games, they are undefeated.

The Lady Cards have won their last 69 games since a forfeit to Weatherford in December.

A link to live Web casts of each game can also be found at cybersportsusa.com. You can also watch today’s game at www.ihigh.com

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