Senatobia, Miss. – The Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball team exacted a bit of revenge during its postseason opener.
The Lady Tigers defeated Hinds Community College by a score of 84-75 on Tuesday, February 27 in the opening round of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament at Howard Coliseum.
Northeast (17-7) advances to the state semifinals for the first time in five years. The Lady Tigers match up with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, who defeated host Northwest Mississippi Community College in its quarterfinal contest, at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28 in Senatobia.
The Lady Bulldogs (16-8) eliminated Northeast from both the MACJC and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 tournaments during the 2016-17 campaign. This time around it was the Lady Tigers that took care of business.
But Northeast had to overcome several obstacles in order to do so. Post players Aundrea Adams and Cherelle Jones both got into foul issues early in the contest and the Lady Tigers turned the ball over 25 times as well.
Northeast's guards stepped up while the starting forwards bided their time before reentering the game. Adallice Young specifically set a new career-high with 23 points, which included an impressive 10 of 11 showing at the free throw line.
"I feel like our team knew what we had to come out and do today. It started with defense and we knew that they had a couple of good guards. We had to do what we had to do to guard them, but I feel like we played well overall."
Dayzsha Rogan also had a nice outing with 17 points on six made field goals plus four assists as well. The Lady Tigers' guards accumulated 57 total points, or nearly 70 percent of their offensive production.
"They maintained their focus and understood the significance of this game," said Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes. "We told (our guards) to shoot 500 shots apiece where they can get in rhythm. I think that extra shooting paid off and they looked to score. That was big for us.
Adams and Jones still ended up in double figures even with their respective foul troubles. Adams, who is committed to the University of Tennessee at Martin, accumulated 15 points and seven rebounds while Jones tallied 11 points plus five boards.
The two teams competed in a back-and-forth first quarter that saw Hinds lead 12-8 with 2:59 to go. But the Lady Tigers closed the period on an 8-1 run, which featured an old-fashioned three-point play from Adams, to jump ahead 16-13.
Northeast started to build upon its advantage midway through the second. Young was fouled while making a layup and sunk the free toss moments later to get the Lady Tigers rolling at the 6:37 mark.
LaJayla Turnage gave Northeast its initial double-digit lead with 4:41 remaining before the break on a wide open layup that was assisted by Young. The Lady Tigers maintained that 11-point margin at halftime following late scores from Rogan and Young.
Young got the second half started on a positive note for Northeast with a big three-pointer. However, the Lady Bulldogs stormed right back into the contest and cut their deficit to 46-45 with 4:41 to go in the third quarter.
That was as close as Hinds got, though, as Rogan responded with a trey to get the Lady Tigers' lead back to two possessions. Northeast's advantage increased to 55-51 at the end of the third after Young hit two free throws with one second left.
The Lady Tigers scored five of the initial six points of the final period, including four from Adams. Hinds again tried to come-from-behind once again and made it a 62-60 ballgame in favor of Northeast with 5:49 left in the matchup.
But Tyra Tucker proved to be the difference maker for the Lady Tigers. She scored all 12 of her points in the final six minutes to help Northeast pull away in the waning moments.
"I felt like I needed to score because coach (Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard) always tells the guards that if we don't score then we won't win," Tucker said. "So I felt like I needed to help my team out more. I needed to score and play defense."
The Lady Tigers had 21 assists on 27 made field goals. Northeast also accumulated 38 points in the paint, 20 points off turnovers and went 25 of 34 from the charity stripe overall.
Northeast and Co-Lin meet for the first time since the 2013 MACJC state championship game. The Lady Wolves won that contest, which was played on the campus of Pearl River Community College, by a 64-46 margin.