Rockford, IL - If the Rochester Community and Technical College Women's Basketball team had any nerves heading into their NJCAA Quarterfinal contest you would not have known it. The Yellowjackets jumped out to an early 26-17 lead over #3 seeded Uconn-Avery Point (UCAP) in the first quarter and seemed poise for the upset. The Pointers had other plans though as they rallied throughout the game and closed out the Yellowjackets down the stretch in an entertaining and high schoring affair 98-93.
In the first quarter it appeared that RCTC had UCAP off-balance and somewhat unsure of themselves. It was clear from the opening tip that the Pointers were going to run and run the entire contest, but it didn't appear that they expected RCTC to do the same. The Pointers, who averaged over 88 points per game this season were on their heels as the Yellowjackets converted missed shots and turnovers into early points to build the 9 point first quarter lead. In the second quarter the two teams seemed to settle in, and UCAP turned the tables scoring from drives to the basket on multiple occasions and continuing to force the pace. Despite fould trouble from their offensive star (Tatyanna Lafrance-Boyce) the Pointers outscored the Yellowjackets 27-18 to leave the game tied at the half 44-44.
After a much needed break at halftime both teams came out on fire, and once again pushing the pace. The two teams combine for 60 points in the quarter and went into the final frame tied at 74. The fourth quarter continued the back and forth affair with neither team building more than a 3 ppoint lead until late in the game. With only 2:26 to go and down by 1, it appeared that RCTC had forced UCAP into a tough shot at the end of the shot clock. The desperation barely grazed the rim, but as the Yellowjackets boxed out potential rebounders, the shooter UCAP's Mia Brennan, slid under the basket picked up her own miss and laid it in to give them a 3 point lead. That was as close as the Yellowjackets could get the remainder of the game, as UCAP knocked down their free throws down the stretch.
RCTC put themselves in a good position to win the game throughout as three UCAP players fouled out of the contest, and they held the Pointers leading scorer LaFrance-Boyce (22.4 points per game) to only 11 points. Two of the key stats in the contest were free throws and points off of turnovers. The Yellowjackets knocked down only 20-34 attempts from the line. UCAP also outscored the Jackets 31-10 in pints off of turnovers.
Despite the loss the Jackets played a great game and had some outstanding performances. Olivia Haug lead the Jackets in scoring with 22 points and rebounds with 17. Nautika Kotero dropped in 21 points and 4 steals, while Grace Riley hit for 20 points. Jalysa Cutting was the fourth Jacket in double figures with 16 points. She also had 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Pointers were lead by Mia Brennan with 20 points and had six players score in double figures.
RCTC will now play in the NJCAA consolation bracket and take on Onondaga College at 3:00pm today (Friday, March 16th).
The game will be livestreamed at NJCAAtv.com