Clinton, Miss. – The Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball team is entering the second leg of postseason competition in the Magnolia State with a sour taste in its mouth.
The Lady Tigers open the 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament against Southwest Mississippi Community College on Tuesday, March 7. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. inside Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum.
Every Northeast game in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament will air live and in high definition on NEMCCTV. Tune in starting 15 minutes prior to tipoff for the pregame show by visiting www.nemcctv.com on any computer, smartphone or tablet.
The Northeast Broadcasting Network also includes Booneville based radio station WBIP. An audio simulcast featuring Jody Presley and Carter Smith, the Voices of the Tigers, can be heard on 99.7 FM and AM 1400 on your digital dial.
The Lady Tigers have been on the shelf since their heartbreaking overtime loss to Hinds Community College in the first round of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament last Monday, February 27.
Northeast freshman Aundrea Adams, who had a game-high 24 points in that contest against the Lady Bulldogs, notes that she and her teammates have used the early exit in the conference competition as extra motivation.
"I think we needed that loss to realize our mistakes and what we needed to do to be better," she said. "If we play as one then we always seem to be successful. We've got to run the floor and play our ballgame."
Adams is one of four athletes that post double-digit numbers offensively for the Lady Tigers. The Corinth native averages 13.7 points and has produced eight double-doubles during her inaugural season in the City of Hospitality.
Her partner in the post is Shelby Wilbanks, who has scored in double figures during 45 of her 47 career outings. Her double-double of 19 points and 10 boards versus Hinds was the 19th such effort over the two-year tenure of the reigning MACJC All-State selection.
"We're going into this tournament ready to get the job done," said Wilbanks. "We've got to keep doing what works when we're up. Just be patient on offense and play good defense."
LaKeiya Lane of Southaven continues to lead Northeast in scoring with 16.7 points. She is the top three-point shooter among the Lady Tigers' guards by percentage and also tops her squad with 4.9 assists.
Baldwyn High School graduate Timaya Stewart produces 13 points per game for Northeast as well. She also plays the second most minutes with 32.8 as the leader of the team from the point guard position.
The Lady Tigers (15-9) qualified for this event based on their regular season region record. Northeast went 11-2 against opponents from the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, which comprise the NJCAA's Region 23.
"They've had a couple of really, really good practices," Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes said. "They know the significance of this one because this could be our last. Everybody wants to make it to March Madness and we've done that, but I hope we realize we don't want to just get there."
The Lady Bears (18-8) reached the regional round after finishing as the runner-up in the MACJC State Tournament. Southwest was the fourth-place team in the final MACJC South Division standings.
Danyelle Lewis guides the Lady Bears with 11.2 points while Alissa Adam pours in 10.2 points. Southwest averages 61.7 points as a unit, but makes its living on defense by conceding just 58.5 points each contest.
The Lady Tigers remain as one of the most elite rebounding squads in the entire country. Northeast's 18.8 offensive boards are among the 10 best in the NJCAA while its 47.2 total rebounds ranks eleventh.
It is the first meeting between these two institutions since the season opener of the 2014-15 campaign. The Lady Tigers captured that matchup in a thrilling 102-98 double overtime decision as part of the Northeast Tipoff Classic.
The winner between Northeast and the Lady Bears battles the victor between Hinds Community College and Southern (La.) University at Shreveport in the semifinals on Thursday, March 9. The women's championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. one night later.