McDonald, Phillips pace No. 3 seed Chipola past Walters State, 70-61.
LUBBOCK, Texas – Sydnee McDonald scored a game-high 22 points and seemingly was able to drain a 3-pointer whenever her team needed it, and No. 3-seed Chipola College outlasted No. 14 Walters State 70-61 on Wednesday at the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship at the Rip Griffin Center.
She hit her fifth and six 3-pointers I the final four minutes of the contest, each one stopping a Walters State surge and allowing the Lady Indians (28-4) to extend their lead. Her last trey came with 35.2 seconds remaining after the Lady Senators had closed to within four points at 65-61, and Tiaera Phillips added two free throws with 16.9 to play to seal the win.
“I don’t know that we were really, truly read to play in terms of getting the 50-50 balls and taking care of the glass,” Chipola head coach Greg Franklin said. “We let them have too many second shots and in the second half we were trying to play the ball and get steals instead of relying on our teammates behind us to make sure we got the stop. But Sydney made some key shots to get us up and keep us up. This time of the year it’s just survive and advance. Maybe this will wake us up for tomorrow.”
The victory vaults the Lady Indians into Thursday’s quarterfinal round where they will face either No. 6 seed Trinity Valley Community College or No. 11-seed Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at 7 p.m.
Phillips finished with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Indians while Raven Baker-Northcross added 11 points and Danielle Garven chipped in 10. McDonald finished 6 of 10 from the 3-point line and Chipola shot 50 percent (10 of 20) from beyond the arc.
“I couldn’t have done it without our point guard and the rest of the team,” McDonald said. “We prepare and practice for those shots and my teammates got me the ball. It was just about the team.”
Martoria Patton led the Lady Senators with 15 points and Gazmyne Herndon added 12.
Walters State trailed by just seven at halftime and at the end of the third period, but Chipola opened the fourth quarter with a McDonald trey and a Phillips free throw to push the lead to double digits. The Lady Senators were again within seven at 58-51 with 4:25 to play before McDonald hit her fifth trey and Garven added a putback to make it 63-51.
Walters had one last gasp, going on a 10-2 run to pull to within 65-61 as Herndon scored three straight buckets in the outburst before McDonald and Phillips iced it.
The teams spent most of the first quarter feeling each other out before Chipola finally began asserting itself.
Phillips closed the first stanza with four straight points to put the Lady Indians up by four points, then McDonald took over to start the second quarter with two free throws and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 20-11. Baker-Northcross then added a pair from beyond the arc and McDonald chipped in her third as part of a 11-3 run to make it a 31-18 advantage with just over three minutes left.
Walters State, however, chipped away at the lead with six straight points to cut the gap to seven points at 31-24 and trailed 32-24 at the intermission.
McDonald finished with 11 first-half points, and the Lady Indians shot 6 of 11 from 3-point range while also outrebounding the Lady Senators 21-16.
Martoria Patton scored seven of her nine first-half points in the first quarter