TYLER, Texas – The Blinn Buccaneers’ hopes of reaching the NJCAA National Championships are in the hands of the selection committee now.
No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley, the defending national champion, defeated Blinn's women's basketball team 69-58 today in the Region XIV Tournament championship game at the Herrington Patriot Center. With the win, Trinity Valley earned an automatic berth to the national tournament while the Buccaneers must wait to see if they are selected for one of the four at-large bids.
The NJCAA will announce the tournament qualifiers Monday evening.
“Going 30-3 this season with all three losses to Trinity Valley, including one in overtime, you would think we would get in, but you never know when you put it in the hands of voters,” Blinn coach Jeff Jenkins said. “I just know this team deserves it. Early in the year I might not have said that, but we’re playing a lot better defense now and I think we’re one of the better teams in the nation.”
Blinn got off to a slow start in the conference title game as Trinity Valley jumped out to a 31-18 lead by halftime. The Buccaneers have been one of the best offensive teams in the nation this year, averaging 80.6 points per game.
“It just wasn’t our typical game offensively,” Jenkins said. “Defensively, we played fine in the first half, and I’d really believed going in that if we held them under 70 points for the game, we’d win.”
Blinn outscored the Lady Cardinals 40-38 in the second half but couldn’t make up the difference.
Sophomore guard Jazzmin Parker led the Buccaneers with 21 points while freshman forward Fatima Adams scored 20. Sophomore forward Audrisa Harrison scored seven points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Parker added eight boards. Trinity Valley out-rebounded Blinn 54-40, including 24 offensive rebounds.
“I thought we did a good job defending the first shot, we just couldn’t secure the rebound and that’s not like us,” Jenkins said.
Shlonte Allen led Trinity Valley with 24 points while Adut Bulgak, Krystle Henderson and Shannon Smith each scored 12.
Allen and Harrison were named Region XIV Conference co-MVPs. Harrison and Adams each earned all-region and all-conference honors and Parker was named all-conference. Sophomore guard Aarika Reyna received all-conference honorable mention.
Parker and Adams were each named to the all-Region XIV Tournament team.
The Buccaneers have practice scheduled Tuesday in the event they are selected for the tournament.
For more information on Blinn basketball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.