LUBBOCK, Texas – Makiyah McCollister drained five 3-pointers as part of her 15 points, setting the tone with her first six seconds into the game, and Trinity Valley opened its run in the NJCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship with a 66-45 victory over Walters State on Thursday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Kaila Kelley added 12 points and 17 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards, as the Lady Cardinal (26-6) started fast and never slowed down en route to the victory. The Lady Cardinal were a solid 7 for 16 from 3-point range and dominated the boards, 54-39, which led to a 20-5 edge in second-chance points and a 32-6 advantage on points in the paint.
“It does get us going,” McCollister said of hitting that first shot. “Of course, first shot of the game goes in it does give you momentum.”
With the win, Trinity Valley advances to the second around on Friday to face College of Southern Idaho at 8 p.m. It will be the 100th game in program history at the national tournament for Trinity Valley. Walters State, which came into the game as the No. 22 seed, ends its season at 19-7.
Jasmine Worthy added 12 points off the bench for Trinity Valley. Kierra Hill led the Senators with 15 points and nine rebounds.
“At halftime we talked about not taking our foot off the gas, but I think we did a little offensively,” Trinity Valley head coach Precious Ivy said. “Defensively we were still tuned in, and it seemed like there was a lid on the basket, but we continued to do what we did and by the time we got to the fourth quarter things started falling our way again.”
Trinity Valley came out on fire and never looked back, getting a McCollister 3-pointer from the corner six seconds into the game. Walters State would answer to take a 7-5 lead, but Trinity Valley came right back with 10 straight points to regain the advantage and never looked back.
The Lady Cardinal got firm control of the game early in the second quarter when 3-pointers from Alexis Brown and McCollister kickstarted a 10-0 run to extend the Trinity Valley lead to 27-11. The Lady Cardinal led 31-17 when Walters made a 7-3 push to close the gap to 12 at 34-22 at the intermission.
Trinity’s athleticism was just too much for Walters State to keep up with. Trinity forced 12 first-half turnovers and converted that into 13 points while dominating in the paint, 18-4. Trinity Valley also outrebounded the Senators 23-21, leading to a 9-2 edge in second-chance points.
Hill led Walters State with seven points while McCollister had nine in the first half to pace the Lady Cardinal.
It was more of the same in the second half. Every time Walters tried to cut into the lead – and the Senators got it under 10 several times – the Lady Cardinal found a way to re-establish the advantage. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Niyah Page and Ahsha Spencer put the Lady Cardinal up 56-36 and they cruised from there.