Trinity Valley pulls away early to oust South Georgia Tech, 73-48
LUBBOCK, Texas – Jnaya Walker scored 18 of her 22 points in the first three quarters as No. 14 Trinity Valley Community College built a huge lead and ran away from No. 19 South Georgia Tech, 73-48, in the first round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships on Tuesday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Jasmine Smith added 14 points for the Lady Cardinals (27-4), who advance to Wednesday’s second around to face No. 3 Shelton State at 6 p.m.. Trinity Valley is seeking its fourth straight trip to the championship game, having fallen in the contest each of the last three years. But head coach Gerald Ewing said his team still needs to figure out how to play a full game.
“We played about 21/2 quarters well,” Ewing said. “I think they just get relaxed when the game was kind of under control. They’ve got to understand we’re playing for a national championship and you’ve got to put your foot down on people. It’s defensive lapses, gambles, missing a blockout, attention to detail. It’s small things like that that can cost you down the road if you’re too relaxed.”
On Tuesday, the two-plus periods put forth by the Lady Cardinals was good enough to get the job done. They jumped out on South Georgia Tech (30-4) early and never let up. TVCC shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the field in the first half and dominated the Lady Jets in the paint, outscoring them 44-16 for the game and dominating on the break, scoring 25 fast-break points to just six for South Georgia Tech. More often than not, it was Walker finishing.
“My teammates just found me in spots that I’m comfortable in and I was able to knock down shots,” Walker said. “Hopefully that continues for the rest of the week as we go on.”
Trinity Valley also got it done on the defensive end, holding South Georgia Tech to just 22.9 percent (16 of 70) shooting, including just 6 of 31 from the field in the first half and 6 of 32 from 3-point range for the game. TVCC also heavily outrebounded the Lady Jets, 48-29.
Curtessia Dean chipped in 11 points for the Lady Cardinals, who used a 14-3 run over the last 5:49 of the first quarter and 33 seconds of the second quarter to turn 10-8 advantage into a 24-11 lead, and TVCC never led by fewer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Trinity Valley then closed the first half on a 15-5 run to take a 43-21 advantage at the intermission, and Walker scored eight points in the third period to put the game away.
“We just took them out of their game and played our game,” Tra’Dayja Smith said. “We sped them up on defense.”
Mari Hill led the Lady Jets with nine points while Ricka Jackson, who will play across town next year at Texas Tech, Alyssa Nieves and Bigue Sarr each added eight points.
But South Georgia Tech struggled to do much of anything it is used to doing, despite getting open looks at the basket. It was just one of those days where the ball would not go in consistently.
Fatou Pouye added seven points for the Lady Jets.
“We didn’t do much of what we knew we had to do,” South Georgia Tech head coach James Frey said. “We knew Trinity Valley wanted to get the ball downhill on us, get it in the paint. We work on where we’re supposed to be and for whatever reason we weren’t there. That’s stuff we’ve worked on since September. I don’t know if maybe it was the elements or the environment, but we weren’t there today.”