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ECCC stuns Co-Lin

By Staff
TWO-ON-ONE n East Central Community College's Sophia Reed splits Copiah-Lincoln defenders as she penetrates the lane during Tuesday's Region 23 Tournament game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
MARCH 8, 2001
CLINTON Beat us once, shame on you. Beat us twice, shame on us. Beat us three times… not gonna happen.
The East Central Community College Lady Warriors extracted their revenge for a pair of big-time blowouts administered by the Lady Wolves of Copiah-Lincoln at the right time… in the semifinals of the Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Lady Warriors outscored nationally-ranked and previously once-beaten Co-Lin 74-71 to advance to tonight's 6 p.m. championship game with Northwest Mississippi, a 65-55 semifinal winner over Pearl River.
If you picked East Central to be in the finals, you can start your own psychic hotline. After all, Co-Lin ripped ECCC 81-58 on Jan. 8 at Decatur and showed that was no fluke with a 97-67 pounding on Feb. 1 in Wesson.
But the Lady Warriors hung with the Lady Wolves for the first half, then outscored them 41-36 over the second 20 minutes for the win.
Neither team led by more than six points throughout the classic battle between longtime MACJC South Division rivals.
ECCC led 9-6 with 10:22 to go in the first half only to have Co-Lin claim a six-point advantage with eight minutes to go before intermission. The Lady Wolves led 35-33 at halftime.
Margo Porter tied the game at 48-48 with a 3-pointer with 14:26 to play. Another 3 by Nicole Cox gave the Lady Warriors a 51-50 lead with 13:15 left.
The 3-point shot would be an ally of the Lady Warriors as they hit six in the second half and nine for the game.
Co-Lin went up 55-52 when Rusti Smith hit a basket as the shot clock ran out with 11:09 to go, but Cox answered with a 3 bomb 17 seconds later to pull the Lady Warriors back even.
ECCC got two baskets from Nikki Lacour, three from Anna Udicova, and another from Porter over the next six minutes to take its biggest lead of the game at 67-61 with 4:18 remaining.
Not that ECCC's lead lasted long.
Co-Lin battled back even at 69-69 with 2:37 left on a pair of baskets from Mindy Livavdis.
Cox broke the stalemate with her fifth 3 with 1:15 showing to give the Lady Warriors a 72-69 lead.
After Co-Lin got to within 72-71 on a putback basket from Denise Catchings with 36.6 seconds left, the Lady Warriors ran the clock down to 9.9 seconds when Cox was fouled by Livavdis. Cox made both free throws to put ECCC up 74-71.
Porter then forced Smith to use nearly all of the remaining time getting the ball up the floor before Smith threw up an airball that Cox cradled as time ran out.
Cox led ECCC, 21-5, with 23 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Porter scored 20, Alberta Norman had 10, Lacour added eight, Udicova tossed in seven, and Sophia Reed had six.
Co-Lin, which finished 24-2, got 23 points from Livavdis, 20 from Christy Brown, and 10 from Smith.
EC and Northwest met on Nov. 28 at Senatobia with the Lady Rangers taking a 71-70 win.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com.