Co-Lin clips Northwest in first region challenge

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2002

CLINTON – The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Lady Wolvesknocked off the Northwest Lady Rangers 73-68 Monday night andadvance to the semifinals of the 2002 NJCAA Region 23 BasketballTournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of MississippiCollege.

In last night’s other women’s games, Itawamba stopped PearlRiver 65-61, Southwest eliminated Northeast 68-54 and Meridian gotpast East Central 89-80.

Co-Lin (24-2) battles Itawamba Wednesday at 6 p.m. in thesemifinals. In the 12 noon game, Southwest squares off againstMeridian.

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In today’s men’s games at Mississippi College, Delgado meetsItawamba at 12 noon, Northwest faces Gulf Coast at 2 p.m., Holmessquares off with Jones County at 6 and Bossier Parish tangles withSouthwest at 8. Men’s Wednesday semifinal games will be played at 2and 8.

“It was a good win for us,” said Co-Lin women’s head coach GwynYoung. “It was our fourth game in seven days. We were a little bitsluggish.”

With 1:10 left to play, Co-Lin had a six point, 60-54 lead overNorthwest. Lady Ranger freshman center Cassandra Henry hit a jumperwith 47 seconds left and sophomore guard Jennifer Hanna sacked apair of free throws with 31 seconds remaining to trim the LadyWolves’ lead to 69-68.

Co-Lin freshman forward Nikki Blakely, who broke loose and wasall alone in the back court, caught a long pass for a quick twopoints and a more comfortable 71-68 lead. The Lady Rangers missed aquick 3-pointer and the ball went out of bounds with 7.7 secondsleft to play.

Northwest had to foul. That put Co-Lin freshman guard TianiaBurns on the free throw line. Burns, who finished the game with 23points, calmly sacked both freebies for a five point, 73-68 lead.The Lady Rangers missed another desperation three pointer andCo-Lin grabbed the rebound as the game ended.

“In the last four games, we have had different people come outin the game and play pretty good for us,” Young stated.

Young said they missed top reserve Ayme Beeson, a freshman guardfrom Calhoun, La., who was in the hospital with the flu.

The Lady Wolves held an eight point, 39-31, lead at the halfover the Lady Rangers.

“Our post people did a good job in the second half,” addedYoung.

Both teams struggled in the opening minutes of the game asNorthwest took an early 4-0 lead over Co-Lin. At the 11:22 mark,Co-Lin sophomore guard Alexya Irvin nailed two free throws to givethe Lady Wolves their first lead, 12-11, in the game.

The Lady Rangers tied the game at 29-29 for the final time atthe 2:16 mark. Co-Lin sophomore guard Gwen Smith hit a jumper for a31-29 lead and Burns followed with a layup for a 33-29 advantagewith 1:45 left until halftime.

Shaquita Smith, a sophomore forward, netted 14 points and pulleddown nine rebounds. Also collecting nine rebounds and making threeassists was Burns. Christy Brown finished with nine points and ledon the backboards with 12 rebounds.

“Northwest has a good team.” Young said. “They shot the ballpretty well. “

The Lady Rangers, coached by Don Edwards, got 18 points apiecefrom Hanna and Jackson. Jackson, a a 5-7 sophomore from Bruce,scored 16 points in the second half. Cassandra Henry finished with10 points.