Junior College National Champs – Day 1 review

There is plenty of Kiwi interest in the NJCAA (Junior College) Women’s National Championships which began Tuesday (NZT).

Six teams, boasting a total of 10 Kiwis, are at the 24-team Junior College showpiece event and all but three players survive to the second round.

At the back end of the opening day #21 Otero College, Colorado trailed #12 Butler 67-65 with 2 minutes to play.

Featuring sisters Leah and Jenna Rose Mafua, Otero stormed home, rattling in the last 9 points of the game to win 74-67. Jenna Rose scored 6 points (2/3FG) while Leah nailed 4 from 10 three-pointers on her way to 16 points.

Earlier Taranaki’s Izzy Cook and Western Nebraska were first on court. Seeded 16, the Cougars took care of business against #17 Iowa Western winning 79-70.

Izzy got into a bit of foul trouble clocking four personal in 8 minutes but still managed 3 rebounds, an assist and a couple of points.

They now have the rather daunting prospect of taking on unbeaten top seed Jones College in the  second round tomorrow.

#18 Miles College caused a minor upset defeating #15 Gulf Coast State but it took overtime to split the two teams after the scores were knotted at 62 points apiece in regulation – Miles winning 76-72. Canterbury’s Molly Cockburn and Wellingtonian Bree Trego move on to face #2 Trinity Valley in the second round.

20th ranked Southern Idaho suffered an agonizing 65-62 loss to #13 Georgia Highlands. Southern Idaho led by three points at the three-quarter mark but were outscored 19-13 in the final period.

Conference All-First Team selection Kaitlin Burgess, led the Golden Eagles scoring with 13 points whilst also snaring 6 rebounds. 

Ashlee Strawbridge was the other Golden Eagle in double figures with 10 points while Kyra Paniora scored 8 points as the curtain came down on Southern Idaho’s season. 

Grace Hunter and South Plains are seeded four and had a first round bye today. 

Also enjoying the luxury of a first round bye were #8 Casper College with Te Aroha’s Deejan Schuler in the Lady T-Birds lineup.

Games are shown live on the NJCAA Network https://www.njcaa.org/network

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