Trinity Valley powers past Dallinger, Miles 72-55
LUBBOCK, Texas – Trinity Valley women’s basketball coach Precious Ivy didn’t have to watch much film to know how best defensively to attack Miles Community College on Tuesday.
Stop Rebekah Dallinger and live with the results.
Not only did the Lady Cardinals do just that, they thrived with the results, limiting the talented Pioneers freshman to 16 points through the first three quarters while the game was still in doubt, and Trinity Valley surged in the second half toward a 72-55 victory in the second around of the NJCAA Women’s Division I National Championships at the Rip Griffin Center.
“We just didn’t want her to beat us tonight, so we were going to make sure the other girls had to show up and play and be a scoring threat,” Lady Cardinals head coach Precious Ivy said. “Late, our kids, I don’t think they lost focus but I think they saw the lead break out, and they kind of gave up more than I would like. But, still, I think they did great job on (Dallinger).”
With the win, the Lady Cardinals (20-2), in search of their ninth national championship and first since 2013, advance to the quarterfinals to face either Shelton State or Wabash Valley at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Even though no player on the Trinity Valley roster has experience at the national tournament, tradition tends to live, and the Lady Cardinals showed that on Tuesday.
“It was big for them tonight to come out in the opening game and handle their business,” Ivy said. “The nerves were there a little bit at first but eventually the floor opened up and it was a regular game after that.”
Miles, which opened the tournament with an upset of defending champion Gulf Coast State on Monday, ends its season at 24-2.
Dallinger came into the game averaging more than 25 points per game, and she finished right at her average with 25. But 15 of that came after Trinity Valley had built a 50-33 lead with 2 ½ minutes left to play in the third quarter. And even with Dallinger starting to score, the Lady Cardinals extended their lead to as much as 22 in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Cardinals did a good job of putting the clamps on Dallinger. She didn’t get her first points until she hit a 3-pointer from the key with 4:39 to play in the first half that tied the game at 20, and she had just one other bucket the rest of the half to finish with six points. Lili Long added 14 points for Miles, but no other player had more than six.
“We talk about playing for 40 minutes because this is the national tournament and you can’t let up,” Ivy said. “Any given time, someone could make a run because basketball is a game of runs. So, we talked about playing four solid quarter and trying to score, so I think we did a decent job of that tonight.”
Offensively, the Lady Cardinals dominated in the paint, scoring 40 of their 72 points down low and turning 26 Miles turnovers into 26 points. Trinity Valley was also balanced, getting 36 points off the bench compared to none for the Pioneers.
Kaye Clark led the Lady Cardinals with 15 points, one of three players in double figures. Taylor Hutchins added 12 points and Mailyn Wilkerson 10.
Trinity Valley, meanwhile, used its athleticism to dominate the game in the first half, scoring half its points from in the paint while forcing 13 Miles turnovers in the first half. Clark scored six of her 10 first-half points in the first quarter as the Lady Cardinals built a four-point lead after eight minutes.
Trinity Valley led just 38-30, however, early in the third quarter before going on a 10-0 run to put the game out of reach at 48-30 with 3:52 left in the period.