Walters State uses quick start to dispatch of previously unbeaten Miles CC, 65-47
LUBBOCK, Texas – Jamya Rogers scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and No. 15 seed Walters State College cruised to a 65-47 victory over No. 18 Miles Community College in the first round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship on Monday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Zacharyia Esmon added nine points and Memphis signee Dulcy Fankam Mendijiadeu added eight points for the Lady Senators (29-4), who used not only their scoring ability but a stout defensive effort to hand Miles (33-1) its one and only loss this season.
“We made some shots early and they didn’t,” Walters State head coach Dave Kragel said. “We knew how good of a three-point shooting team they are. We were just trying to make sure we got to all their shooters as quickly as we could and tried to do it out of our matchup zone. We were fortunate to do that, and then we got some turnovers as a result of that.”
The Lady Senators held the Lady Pioneers to just 31.6 percent (18 of 57) from the field for the game, including just 11 of 40 for the first three quarters. Miles also manage to hit just 25.9 percent (7 of 27) from 3-point range for the game, well below its season average of 36.2 percent.
Miles came into the game ranked 15th in the nation in points per game (81.4) but managed just over half of that. Walters State also outrebounded the Lady Pioneers 39-20.
“Our team has been total defense all year long,” Kragel said. “We’ve got some kids who can score but defense has been our key. We have to do well on the board and control the boards as much as we can. I can not complain about our effort at all.”
Patrycja Jaworska, who came into the game averaging 14.6 points per game, was held to just 10 points and also had four turnovers. Bre Moea’i added eight points for Miles, but had just two points and no buckets after the 3:35 mark of the second quarter.
“We just never really gave ourselves a chance,” Miles head coach Nate Vogel said. “That first quarter really put us behind the 8-ball quick, and we just never could get out of that hole. I think it took us that first quarter to get those nerves out and by that time it was just too late.”
Walters State jumped on Miles early and never let up, opening the game on a 13-2 run as Mendijiadeu scored all six of her first-half points in the opening 41/2 minutes of the contest. But she wasn’t alone.
Alexis Trice drained both of her first-half 3-pointers in the final 3:12 of the first quarter, and Zacharyia Esmon added the first of her treys as the Lady Senators held a commanding 20-6 lead after the first quarter. Miles managed just three buckets in the opening frame, two from Bre Moea’i.
Walters State shot a brisk 61.5 percent (8 of 13) from the field in the first quarter and dominated on the boards in the first half, 19-8, while holding Miles to just 3 of 12 from the field in the first quarter and forcing 10 Lady Pioneers turnovers.
“We got down really quick and I think we were all nervous and didn’t shoot the ball with confidence or play our type of game,” sophomore Dakota Dosch said. “It was hard to dig out.”
Alexis Trice and Esmon led Walters State with seven points each in the first half while Patrycja Jaworska led Miles, also with seven points.
Down 20, Miles pulled to within 13 at 44-30 by the end of the third, but Walters was never threatened after that and put the game away with a 9-0 run highlighted by 3-pointers from Rogers and Jalayah Manning.