SALINA, KS --- In their first-ever game at the NJCAA Division I National Championship, #19 ASA Women's Basketball pulled off the second upset of the tournament, knocking off #14 Western Nebraska in thrilling fashion, 74-68. The win was the team's 15th consecutive victory, dating back to a win over CCRI on January 6.
Sophomore guard Shaquita Smith set a new school single-game scoring record with 30 points, while sophomore forward Tiffany Jones scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Lady Avengers, who will face #3 Hutchinson CC tomorrow at 5:00PM Central (6:00PM Eastern).
The first ten minutes of the contest were evenly played, with ASA (25-3) holding a slim 20-19 advantage at the first half's midpoint. However, a 12-2 run by Western Nebraska (20-15) would give the Cougars a 31-22 lead with 5:07 remaining. ASA would outscore WNCC 11-6 the rest of the way to cut the lead to 37-33 at halftime.
WNCC would slowly add to their lead in the second half, extending it to the largest of the game, 58-46, with 9:10 left in the game.
At that point, ASA buckled down and began to climb back into the game.
With clutch offensive plays and heightened defensive intensity, ASA would outscore Western Nebraska 28-10 the rest of the game. Smith, who scored 17 points in the first half, poured in her final 13 points during the crucial stretch.
After a Jones free throw cut the Cougar lead to 64-63 with 4:06 remaining, Jones would block WNCC's next shot attempt, gather the defensive rebound, and start the offensive possession that would lead to a Smith 3-pointer giving the Lady Avengers a 66-64 lead, one they would not relinquish for the game's final three minutes.
Smith's 30 points - on 9-for-20 shooting, including 5-for-10 from long range and 7-for-7 from the line - surpassed the school mark of 27 set by former Lady Avengers Deborah Anderson (12/5/11, Kingsborough) and Tyche' Mozie (12/15/09, Hostos). The outburst was the first 30-point game of the 2013 tournament and currently places her atop all single game scorers at the tourney. Smith also notched five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Jones added six blocks and 3 steals to her 16-16 double double. Sophomore guard Brianna Mitchell netted 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Wednesday's matchup against Hutchinson, along with all the games of the 2013 Women's Basketball National Championship, will air live on NJCAA TV. For more information on ASA's run through the tournament, click HERE.
OTHER NOTES: Head Coach Adia Revell received her District C Coach of the Year Award prior to today's game.