No. 12 Tyler JC surges past No. 21 Salt Lake 66-51
LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 12 Tyler Junior College got 13 points from Trelynn Tyler, and the Apaches smothered No. 21 Salt Lake Community College defensively for a 66-51 victory in the opening round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships on Monday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Felmas Koranga added 12 points and Te’Aire Hambrick chipped in 10 for the Apaches (29-5), who advance to the second round to face No. 5 Odessa at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tyler used a pair of runs, one in the third quarter and another in the fourth, to break open a close game and send the Apaches to the next round.
“I think the situation, the magnitude of where we are and what we are doing overwhelmed us because we are a young team,” Tyler JC head coach Trenia Tillis Hoard said. “I felt like after we got our composure we started playing solid defense. We were saying, ‘feet, no hands’ and we were solid, and when we’re solid we’re a really good defensive team.”
Lauren Gustin and Miki’ala Maio led the Lady Bruins (23-6) with 10 points each. SLCC struggled to get any offense going at all, getting off just 10 shots, making five, in the third quarter, then missed their first 18 shots in the fourth quarter to allow Tyler to pull away. Salt Lake finished the final period hitting just three of 22 shots to finish the game, a stark contrast after hitting 48.7 percent from the field for the third three quarters.
“I felt like after the first quarter we were going to be OK,” Sale Lake head coach Betsy Specketer said. “Then the second quarter rolled around and things turned around in a big hurry. We obviously struggled in that third quarter to stop them and struggled to score. The second half was relay not one of our better halves all year. We’ve been a good offensive team all year but when you play against that kind of quickness and athleticism it speeds you up and takes you away from what you like to do.”
Salt Lake trailed by just six at 41-35 after a quick spurt to start the third quarter, but Tyler answered with 13 straight points, five from Tyler and four from Erica Powell, to push the lead to 54-35 and essentially salt the game away.
That came on the heels of a 13-3 run in the second quarter that erased the good start by the Lady Bruins – they outscored Tyler JC 18-8 in the opening frame – and helped the Apaches forge a 39-31 lead at the intermission.
“We started the game pretty bad and were tense,” Koranga said. “Most of us, this is the first time (at the national tournament) but we were able to pick it up. We continued to help each other and encouraged each other.”
Tyler JC’s defense was solid, forcing 20 Salt Lake turnovers, from which the Apaches outscored the Lady Bruins 20-7
Salt Lake got off to a tremendous start and held Tyler to just 2 of 14 (14.3 percent) from the field in the first 10 minutes. The Lady Bruins also outrebounded the Apaches 11-5 in the period.
But the lead was short-lived. After Salt Lake took a 20-8 lead early in the second, the Apaches went on a 13-2 run to pull to within one, and after trading baskets for about a 90-second stretch, Tyler turned it up again, scoring nine straight points to forge a 32-26 lead.
Salt Lake, which shot 53.3 percent (8 of 15) in the first quarter, didn’t let up in the second quarter. The difference was Tyler JC began making the shots it was missing previously, shooting a blistering 73.7 percent (14 of 19) in the second quarter that included a pair of 3-pointers from Te’Aire Hambrick and Frankazia Boyd.
“Like coach said, I don’t think we were used to that quickness and playing against that kind of athleticism,” Gustin said. “We also just didn’t play our best, a little uncomfortable with how fast they were playing. They’re an athletic team but we just didn’t play our best, especially with turnovers.”