Senatobia, Miss. – The Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball team is matched up with a familiar opponent as its postseason journey gets underway following a week away from the court.
The Lady Tigers meet Hinds Community College in the first round of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament for a second straight year on Tuesday, February 27.
Tipoff for the third of four contests on the opening day of the ladies' competition is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Howard Coliseum on the campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Every Northeast game in the MACJC State 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, tablet or smartphone.
The Northeast Broadcasting Network also includes new radio affiliate WOWL Fun 91. An audio simulcast of all playoff matchups for the Lady Tigers can be heard on frequencies 91.9 FM from Burnsville, 92.9 FM from Florence, Ala., and 102.3 FM from Killen, Ala.
The Lady Bulldogs got the best of Northeast twice one year ago in both the state and regional playoffs. Hinds defeated the Lady Tigers in overtime at the MACJC State Tournament and then took a 12-point decision in the region semifinals.
Not many players, five to be precise, that participated in those matchups remain at their respective schools. However, that does not lessen the memories of those games, especially from Northeast's point of view.
"We definitely want to get past round one," said Northeast sophomore forward Aundrea Adams. "I just want all of us to stay focused and go down there and get it done. I believe that we are capable of doing it."
The Lady Tigers enter the tournament after winning the MACJC North Division championship. It was the first divisional title for Northeast in 11 years since National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Famer Ricky Ford roamed the Northeast sidelines.
Brenda Mayes followed in the footsteps of her mentor and former headman Ford in getting the Lady Tigers back to the upper ranks of the MACJC. She is looking forward to seeing how her team performs in the postseason.
"When everything is working, everybody is doing what they're supposed to do, then our chances are so much greater," said the third-year head coach. "They play well together and get along well together. It just makes for a great atmosphere."
Three Northeast standouts average double figures, including the post duo of Corinth's Adams and Middleton, Tenn., native Cherelle Jones. They combined to average nearly 30 points and 20 rebounds per game during the regular season.
Adams, who has committed to the University of Tennessee at Martin, tops the Lady Tigers with 18.3 points per game. Jones follows her with 10.1 points and a team-best 9.6 rebounds as well.
Adallice Young of Booneville is the lone other double-digit scorer for Northeast with 12 points. Two others follow closely behind as Ripley's Dayzsha Rogan records 9.7 points and Tyra Tucker from Calhoun City tacks on 8.4 points.
Rogan has proven to be a catalyst for the Lady Tigers (16-7) at the point guard position. She leads a Northeast squad that ranks sixth in the country in assists per game at 19.6 with 4.1 per outing of her own.
"We've got to play together and play smart and I think we can pull it off," Rogan said. "We work it inside and then that opens it up for the outside. If us guards do what we're supposed to do then it'll all work out."
The Lady Tigers also utilize their size in the paint to pull in 48.2 rebounds, which is fifth best in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Rogan is Northeast's third leading rebounder behind Adams and Jones.
The Lady Bulldogs (16-7) qualified for the state tournament as the No. 4 seed from the MACJC South Division, but were the NJCAA Region 23 runner-up during the previous campaign.
Reigning MACJC Player of the Week Victoria Johnson has come through big for Hinds as a freshman with 22.1 points per contest, which ranks third in the NJCAA and first in the Magnolia State.
Kirdis Clark is the lone other Lady Bulldog to reach double figures with an average of 14.2 points. Hinds is among the top 25 teams nationally in free throw attempts per contest with 23.2.
"I believe that all the teams that are in the state tournament are competitive," Mayes said. "The main keys for us will be staying mentally focused and if we do that then defensively we'll be able to do what we need to do."
The winner between Northeast and the Lady Bulldogs will face the victor of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College versus Northwest matchup in the semifinals on Wednesday, February 28. The women's championship game is slated for 5 p.m. one night later.