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March 21, 2014

NJCAA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT: One more to go

TVCC heads to finals with 82-63 win over Central Arizona

SALINA, KAN. — The road to the third straight title for the Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals became even sweeter on Friday night.

With their 28th straight win and 11th straight national tournament win, the No. 1-seed Lady Cards thumped the Central Arizona Vaqueras, 82-63, in the NJCAA national semifinals at the Bicentennial Center.

“I think my girls are trying to make a statement this year,” coach Elena Lovato said. “In the last three games, we have put out a strong effort each game and they are responding well to the scouting reports.”

Central Arizona reached the Final Four with an 86-74 win against Blinn in quarterfinal action.

TVCC meanwhile, made it to the semifinals with a 94-63 blowout of Northwest Florida.

The Lady Cardinals will carry a 35-1 record into the finals. They are 7-3 in their last 10 appearances in the finals.

Central Arizona is 31-3, including an 80-77 loss to the Lady Cardinals at the WNIT in Midland back in November.

The Lady Cardinals will play Hutchinson in the title game at 7 p.m. Hutchinson beat Chipola, 78-71, in the other semifinal.

“I think we need to keep holding teams underneath to less rebounds and they played physical with us,” Lovato said. “We only won the rebounding war by eight (52-46) so we need to limit them to one shot each trip.”

TVCC came out on fire from the opening tip and dominated the Vaqueras with a 25-10 lead in the opening 10 minutes as Roddricka Patton found Shlonte’ Allen for the jumper.

Central Arizona attempted to put together a run and with 4:14 remaining, the Vaqueras trailed 36-22 on two free throws by Imari Brown.

With 21 seconds remaining, the crowed went silent as Lady Cardinal forward Julianne Anchling went down with an injury and did not return to the game.

She collided with Joymesia Howard going for a loose ball and went to a local hospital to get stitches in her head.

Lovato said Anchling would be looked at before the game. Her status is a game-time decision.

With 15:22 remaining in the game, Adut Bulgak gave TVCC a, 59-40, lead with an aggressive rebound and putback to keep their lead near 20 points all second half.

With the Lady Cardinals shooting 31-of-80 from the field, Lovato said TVCC was not being aggressive in the paint.

“I give credit to Central Arizona for having the big girls behind us,” Lovato said. “I don’t think we were getting far enough inside for the layups and we settled for a lot of jumpers.”

The Lady Cardinals were 10-of-26 from the three-point line and 10-of-14 from the free throw line.

TVCC was led in scoring by Bulgak with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds to go with one block and one steal.

Allen added 12 points, one rebounds and two assists, Roddricka Patton finished with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Central Arizona was led by Jamie Roe with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Joymesia Howard has 16 points, seven rebounds and one steals.

The Lady Cardinals are now 56-16 in national tournament games.

The semifinal contest was a rematch of last year's title game, in which the Lady Cards won 83-71.

NOTE: You can listen to tonight’s title game on KCKL 95.9 FM with Tim Howard live starting around 7 p.m. ... You can also follow the final with update on twitter at AthensReviewSpo or through TVCC at TVCCSports. ... With a win tonight, the Lady Cardinals will win their third straight NJCAA national title.

LADY CARDINALS 82, VAQUERAS 63

Central Arizona (63) -- Mauriana Clayton 7, Joymesia Howard 16, Tia Levi-Dixon 7, Paris Webb 3, Jamie Roe 17, Imari Brown 4, Joymesia Howard 16.

TVCC (82) -- Adut Bulgak 21, Jazmine Spears 8, Roddricka Patton 11, Deborah Meeks 5, Autummn Williams 7, Sylvia Smith-Gatson 3, Shlonte' Allen 12, LeeLee Grant 4, Julianne Anchling 2, Coco Baker 9.

Three-Pointers: Central Arizona 1-5 (Levi-Dixon); TVCC 10-of-26 (Bulgak 2, Patton 3, Meeks, Williams, Allen 2, Baker).

Turnovers: Central Arizona 17; TVCC 14.

Free Throws: Central Arizona 18-of-27; TVCC 10-of-14.

Team Fouls: Central Arizona 16; TVCC 24.

Fouled Out: Central Arizona- none; TVCC-none

Technical Fouls: Central Arizona-none; TVCC-none

Season Records: Central Arizona 31-3; TVCC 35-1.

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