Laccen comes off the bench to spur Tyler Junior College to the semifinals with 79-67 win over Arizona Western
LUBBOCK, Texas – Nadechka Laccen poured in a game-high 24 points, and Tyler Junior College broke open a close game in the third quarter with a 12-0 run, lifting the Apaches into the semifinals of the NJCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship with a 79-67 victory over No. 8 seed Arizona Western on Saturday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Deborah Ogayemi had another solid outing, scoring in double figures in every game of the tournament, this time with 18 points and 19 rebounds for the Apaches (26-8) who turned a 44-41 deficit into a 53-44 lead with 2:10 to play in the third quarter, then held off every charge the Matadors (30-3) threw at them the rest of the way.
With the win, Tyler advances to the final four of the tournament and will face either South Plains College or Western Nebraska Community College at 4 p.m. on Sunday with a shot at the title game on the line.
“That keeps us in Lubbock a little longer,” Tyler head coach Trenia Tillis Hoard said. “All we’re trying to do is stay longer in Lubbock. Every day is a new opportunity to play a different team and just keep giving everything we have. And if we leave it on the court, we’re going to be happy with it and I feel like the kids are leaving it on the court.”
“When you have your moment, you utilize that moment to the best of your ability, and I feel like all the kids have done that.”
Laccen, Ogayemi and the rest of the Apaches certainly did that.
Laccen missed the first game of the national tournament after picking up a technical foul prior to coming to Lubbock and had just seven points in Tyler’s upset of No. 1 seed Three Rivers College on Thursday. On Saturday, she was nearly unstoppable, shooting 50 percent (9 of 18) from the field and going 6 of 8 from the free throw line.
“I was excited to come back and help my team win,” Laccen said. “That’s what’s important right now and us just keep playing together and move on to the next game.”
Coupled with the work Ogayemi and the Apaches have done on the boards, it was a recipe for success once again.
Tyler outrebounded Arizona Western 41-37 which led to a 14-6 edge in second-chance points. Laccen’s 24 points also gave the Apaches a 36-24 edge in points off the bench. But it was the third quarter run that made the difference.
Defensively, the Apaches held Arizona Western to just 5 of 20 from 3-poitn range.
“It’s teamwork,” Ogayemi said. “I told the team we’re going tot miss shots and we’re going to make shots but the ones we miss I promise I will fight for every rebound to get a second chance, just don’t be afraid to take a shot. Let’s do that for each other.”
Up until the decisive run, neither team had led by four. But after two straight three-point plays by Taryn Wills and Ogayemi, the Apaches found themselves in complete control up 53-44 with just over two minutes left I the third period.
“We told them all we had to do is win each quarter by one point,” Hoard said. “If we can win each quarter by one point that means we maintain control of the game. We knew they can shoot threes, we know they have the ability to drive, but you have to just pray they’re going to miss some shots and then keep playing through when they did make a run.”
Shadiya Thomas added 12 points and Taryn Wills chipped in 11 in the winning effort for the Apaches.
Christeina Bryan led Arizona Western with 16 points. Faith Silva added 13 in the losing effort and Kristol Ayson scored 10.