ECCC headed to Nationals
THE CHAMPS n East Central Community College's Nikkie Lacour races across midcourt against Northwest's Eren Shaw during the Region 23 Girls Championship game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
March 9, 2001
CLINTON Lookout Kansas, the Lady Warriors are headed your way.
The East Central Community College Lady Warriors used a balanced offensive attack that saw five players score in double figures as they won the Region 23 championship with a healthy 91-71 spanking of Northwest Mississippi in Thursday night's title game.
The Lady Warriors improved to 22-5 with the win at Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum and earned a berth in the NJCAA Women's Tournament in Salina, Kan., beginning March 19.
The Lady Warriors got 19 points from Anna Udicova, 18 from Nikki Lacour, 17 from Margo Porter, 15 from Sophia Reed, and 13 from Nicole Cox. Alberta Norman added five points, while Lori Cumberland and La'Shonda Ford added two apiece.
Meanwhile, Northwest, 18-13, had only two players in double figures, Rhonda Cooper with 25 and Crystal Boyland with 21. Most of Northwest's offense consisted of spreading the floor and letting Cooper, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., slash through the lane against the ECCC defense.
Northwest held a five-point lead (14-9) early in the first half.
A 3-pointer from Porter gave ECCC a 23-18 lead with 9:45 left in the first half and the Lady Warriors led the rest of the contest.
A driving layup by Reed 31 seconds later and a free throw after she was fouled gave ECCC a 26-18 lead.
Lacour extended the lead to 10 (30-20) with a five-foot jumper in the lane with 6:45 to go before intermission.
Northwest closed to within 30-25 on a putback by Boyland with 5:28 showing, but the Lady Warriors scored 15 of the last 23 points of the first half to lead 45-33 at halftime.
Udicova, a 6-foot-2 sophomore center from Presov, Slovakia, and a USM signee, had 13 points in the first half with Cox scoring 10, Porter nine, and Reed eight.
A 3-pointer from Cox with 17:44 to play gave ECCC a 50-35 lead and the Lady Warriors hit 21-of-30 second-half free throws to claim their first Region 23 championship since 1994. The 94 squad went on to finish seventh in the nation.
The Lady Warriors led by as much as 23 points in the second half.
For the game, ECCC was 34-of-46 (73.9 percent) at the free-throw line.
Northwest shot 31 free throws, making 20 (64.5 percent).
But you can bet the Lady Warriors had a smooth ride back home with the Region 23 championship plaque safely in their possession.
All-Region team: Nicole Cox of Lake and Margo Porter of Louisville were ECCC's representatives on the All-Region 23 Tournament team.
Making the team from Jones was Tammika Sims from Quitman and from Meridian Community College was Catesha Riley of Kosciusko.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.