Lady T-Birds Finish 4th in Nation
3/22/2016 2:38:53 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.
Story courtesy of Hobbs News Sun 3-20-16
NEWS-SUN PHOTO Shaniyah Mitchell shoots a free throw during Friday’s loss to Gulf Coast State. Mitchell had a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds, for NMJC in Saturday’s loss.
For the first time all year, the New Mexico Junior College women’s basketball team lost back-to-back games, and it came at the worst time, in the NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Championship Tournament. After falling to top-seeded Gulf Coast State on Friday, the Lady Thunderbirds lost to No. 2 Shelton State 63-57 on Saturday in the third place game.
The Lady Thunderbirds, starting four freshmen, finished fourth in the nation among NJCAA Division I schools.
While still early in the fourth quarter, NMJC was able to tie the game and even briefly take a lead. NMJC tied the game at 51-51 then took a 53-52 lead with five minutes left on the clock. But NMJC was unable to hold the lead. Shelton State went up 57-55 with just under two minutes to play. Shelton State pushed its lead over NMJC to four points, but the Lady Thunderbirds quickly responded with a bucket of their own from Shaniyah Mitchell. With 23 seconds left in the game, NMJC still trailed by two, but it wouldn’t get any closer.
The fourth quarter was the only quarter in which NMJC was able to outscore Shelton State. The Lady Thunderbirds trailed by one, 15-14, after the first quarter and were down by four, 28-24, at the break. Shelton State outscored NMJC 18-14 in the third quarter to increase its lead over the Lady Thunderbirds to eight points, 46-38.
Daiane Machado led all scorers with 20 points while Mitchell finished the game with a double-double. Mitchell had 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for NMJC. Nycolle Smith scored eight and grabbed eight boards. Ashley Perez, Alexis Winters, and Natalia Gwarda each had four points. Camille Mills and Dezirae Hampton also scored for NMJC.
The Lady Thunderbirds finish the season with a record of 32-4. Smith is the only starter NMJC will lose to graduation. Mills, Joneva Huey, Blair Richmond and injured Alana da Silva will also graduate. Mitchell, Machado, Hampton, and Perez will be back from the starting lineup as well Gwarda, Winters, and Ekatarina Zhibareva.