March 7, 2013

#19 Lady Avengers Advance to District C Finals, Set School Wins Record

BEL AIR, MD --- Sophomore forwards Tiffany Jones and Sashana Bucknor each notched double-doubles and led a dominating second half defensive effort as ASA Women's Basketball advanced to the District C Division I Championship with a 49-33 victory over Monroe Community College on Thursday afternoon at Harford Community College's APGFCU Arena. The Lady Avengers are now one win away from playing in the NJCAA Women's Division I National Championship, to be held in Salina, KS on March 18-23.

The 13th-straight victory for ASA (23-3) was its first ever in District play and sends the 19th-ranked Lady Avengers back to the District finals for the first time since hosting the national qualifying tournament in 2011 and receiving a host bye. The win was the Lady Avengers' second straight over MCC (23-6) and set a new program record for wins in a season, besting last year's total of 22.

ASA was active on the glass at the outset of the game, and it paid off by way of a 9-4 lead with 14:09 remaining in the period. Monroe would respond by pushing the tempo and rattling off a 12-2 run to take a 16-11 advantage with 9:23 left. It would only take a minute for ASA to tie the game, as Jones and Bucknor scored five points to knot the score at 16-16 with 8:22 remaining. MCC would outscore ASA 10-7 the rest of the way and take a 26-23 lead into intermission.

In the second half, ASA settled in and turned up the defensive intensity.

ASA held MCC to three separate scoring droughts of five minutes or more (6:52, 6:36, 5:01) as the Lady Tribunes shot a combined 2-for-33 (6.1 percent) from the field in the latter stanza. MCC shot 11 fewer free throws (making eight fewer), missed all seven of their three pointers, had six shots blocked (all by Jones), gave up seven steals and committed 13 turnovers after halftime.

Overall, ASA limited MCC to 9-for-60 shooting (15 percent) from the field and 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) from three-point range. The field goal shooting and three point shooting totals were Monroe's worst and second-worst of the season, ahead of the Lady Tribunes' percentages from ASA's 69-52 victory against them on February 2nd in the Bronx.

Jones and Bucknor each scored a game-high 13 points. Jones grabbed 15 rebounds while Bucknor corralled 10 boards. The All-American hopefuls have recorded double doubles together in 10 games this season; Bucknor has 16 double doubles overall, while Jones has 15.

Sophomore guards Shaquita Smith and Brianna Mitchell scored nine and six points respectively, while freshman guard Erica Juarbe pulled down 11 rebounds.

ASA moves on to face District host Harford on Saturday, March 9 with a ticket to Nationals on the line. ASA handed the Fighting Owls their first loss in APGFCU Arena in their last matchup, a 72-64 victory on January 24.

Click HERE for information on the coverage of Saturday's title game.