CHIPOLA WOMEN FINISH IN ELITE EIGHT AT NATIONAL TOURNAMENTSalina, KS – The Chipola Lady Indians finished in the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Women’s Basketball National Tournament in Salina, KS, March 21.
The Lady Indians (27-7) won two of three games in the tournament before falling to number two seed Central Arizona (32-1), 84-67, on Thursday, March 21. Kristine Brance led Chipola with 23 points including four three-pointers. Jasmine Crawford had 12 points. Lashonda Littleton had 10 points and 4 rebounds. Treyvonna Brooks led Chipola in rebounding with 5.
Chipola scored a 66-57 win over Southern Idaho on March 20. Jasmine Crawford led Chipola with 18 points off the bench, making 11-of-12 free throws for the game. Free throws turned out to be the difference in the game. Chipola shot an amazing 26-of-29 free throws as a team. Rayven Brooks added 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Jade Givens finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lady Indians opened the tournament March 18 with a 78-62 win over Southwest Illinois. Rayven Brooks led the Lady Indians in nearly every category with 29 points including 6 of 9 three pointers, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Brance and Littleton each scored 13. Littleton also grabbed 8 rebounds. Treyvonna Brooks scored 11 and pulled down 8 rebounds. Crawford also added 8 points.
Chipola’s Cinderella post-season run began with a 72-52 upset win over Northwest Florida in the FCSAA Florida/Region VIII Tournament. The Lady Indians went on to finish second in the state tournament, losing 61-53 to state champion Gulf Coast in the title game. Their showing earned the Lady Indians a first ever at-large bid to play in the NJCAA National Tournament.
Chipola president Dr. Gene Prough dubbed the Lady Indians, “The Magnificent Seven,” as only seven players on the injury-plagued squad played in state and national tournaments.
The Lady Indians finished the regular season third in the Panhandle Conference under first year head coach Greg Franklin. Gulf Coast and Northwest were conference co-champions.
Franklin came to Chipola after serving five seasons as an assistant coach in the Mississippi State University women’s basketball program where he was instrumental in helping Mississippi State claim back-to-back year wins in the NCAA Tournament, including the program's first Sweet 16 appearance. Before Mississippi State, Franklin served at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois, as athletic director, head women’s coach and assistant men's coach.
Chipola and Northwest both were beneficiaries of the NJCAA’s change to an expanded 24 team bracket which now includes four at-large teams, four ‘zone’ qualifiers and 16 district champions. Northwest also made it to the Elite Eight before losing to Hutchinson on March 21. Gulf Coast is scheduled to play Trinity Valley in the semi-finals Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m. The national title game is Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. Tournament games will be aired live on NJCAA TV. Visit www.njcaa.org/newsArticle.cfm?articleId=19118
CUTLINE: CHIPOLA PHOTO
CHIPOLA WOMEN FINISH IN ELITE EIGHT AT NATIONAL TOURNAMENT--Members of the Chipola College Women’s Basketball team are, from left: (top) Jasmine Crawford, Treyvonna Brooks, Rayven Brooks, Jade Givens, (bottom) Rahni Bell, Kristine Brance, LaShonda Littleton and head coach Greg Franklin.