Buccaneers outlast Baton Rouge 82-75

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SALINA, Kansas -- Baton Rouge pushed it to the final seconds, but the Blinn women’s basketball team survived to play another day.

The 13th-seeded Buccaneers beat 20th seed Baton Rouge Community College 82-75 at the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship here Monday.

“We’re very fortunate,” Blinn (27-6) coach Jeff Jenkins said. “Baton Rouge came out and played very well against us, and we survived, we advanced.”

Fatima Adams led the Bucs with 29 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore guard Tierra Tucker scored 13 points.

Blinn had to survive a barrage of 3-pointers throughout the game to secure the win. Baton Rouge (24-7), which averages three 3-pointers per game, shot 11 of 22 from the 3-point line to keep the game within reach.

With 3:19 to play, Baton Rouge cut Blinn’s lead to four, 74-70, before Blinn was able to make a final run.

Tucker hit a bucket to extend the lead back to six, and sophomore Katrina Hayden made two free throws and hit a bucket to build Blinn’s lead to 80-73 with 37 seconds to play.

“Coach kept telling us that they were going to keep playing even if they got down,” Adams said. “They had us down for a minute, but we kept fighting.”

Kaylynn Walker, who averages eight points per game, scored 19 points on a 5-for-8 performance from the 3-point arc.

“They started hitting threes, but we didn’t fall apart,” sophomore Amari Jones said. “We just kept on playing hard.”

Blinn was able to withstand Baton Rouge’s 3-point attack with 22 points from its bench. Tayler Weiks scored seven points and Shanequa Gaston added six with two offensive rebounds.

“To make it this far, you’ve got to have some depth,” Jenkins said. “I thought our bench played very well tonight.”

The Bucs will need another strong effort Tuesday as they move on to play the fourth seed Walters State (32-0) at 6:30 p.m.

“It feels good really good to get this win, especially at the national tournament,” Hayden said. “I think that we have our confidence up knowing that we can beat teams here.”