ECCC ladies head for Kansas
March 17, 2001
By Marty Stamper
The Meridian Star
DECATUR With fresh legs underneath them, the East Central Community College Lady Warriors are ready to begin a voyage to what they hope ends with a national championship.
The Lady Warriors defeated MACJC state champion Jones (93-78), a 24-2 Copiah-Lincoln team that was ranked No. 7 nationally (74-71), and MACJC state runner-up Northwest Mississippi (91-71) to capture the Region 23 championship the first week of March.
Those wins earned the Lady Warriors one of 16 berths in the NJCAA Women's National Basketball Championship in Salina, Kan., next week. The first round of games is set for Tuesday with six contests on tap.
The 22-5 Lady Warriors will open with 27-7 Cloud County (Kan.) in the feature game Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. Cloud County shocked once-beaten Independence (Kan.) and previously-undefeated Seward County (Kan.) in back-to-back nights to win the Region 6 championship. Seward County was ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA women's poll at the end of the regular season, while Independence was No. 5.
The Region 6 Tournament was played in the same Bicentennial Center where the national championship will be settled. The facility seats 6,533 for basketball.
Joining the Lady Warriors and Thunderbirds
in the 16-team field are 29-2 Central Arizona College, 24-8 Eastern Oklahoma State College, 32-1 Midland (Texas) College, 21-7 Southwest Tennessee Community College, 25-7 Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College, 24-7 Western Nebraska Community College, 28-4 Louisburg (N.C.) College, 24-6 Iowa Western Community College, 27-4 Cincinnati (Ohio) State Community College, 26-6 Tyler (Texas) Junior College, 31-1 Jefferson (Mo.) College, 24-9 Utah Valley State College, 22-9 Wallace State-Hanceville (Ala.) Community College, and 28-5 John A. Logan College of Illinois.
Lady Warrior head coach Sammy Pace gave his squad nearly all of the spring break week off after the March 8 win over Northwest in the Region 23 finals. The Lady Warriors returned to the ECCC campus Thursday for three days of practice before heading out for Kansas today at 5 p.m.
Pace has been to the national tournament before with the 1994 Lady Warriors placing seventh.
The time off was designed to get the Lady Warriors ready for a flourish in the final week of the 2000-2001 season.
All of East Central's games can be heard on 98.3 FM, WSSI-Carthage.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.