Johnson, defense lead Shelton State past North Dakota State College of Science 61-48
LUBBOCK, Texas – Cierra Johnson scored a game-high 21 points, and No. 8 seed Shelton State Community College used strong second and fourth quarters to overcome a sluggish performance and pull away from No. 23 seed North Dakota State College of Science, 61-48, in the first round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship on Monday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Savannah Reier added 10 points for the Lady Buccaneers (31-2), who advance to the Round of 16 where they will face No. 7 seed Tallahassee Community College at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m very happy we won this game but I’m extremely disappointed in our performance,” Shelton State head coach Madonna Thompson said. “I thought it looked like a typical junior college basketball game. An October game, not a March game. I was not happy with our performance overall and we had too many individuals making mistakes on things we’ve worked on and gone over. We were fortunate that we played good enough defense and made some runs here and there and did enough to pull it out.”
Shelton State opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run to turn a 13-11 lead into a 24-13 advantage, then blew the game open with an 8-0 run early in the third after NDSCS (30-5) had closed to within eight at 28-20 at halftime.
North Dakota State closed to within six with an 8-0 spurt to close the third quarter, but the Lady Bucs answered right back with nine points to open the fourth quarter and make it a 47-32 game, and the Wildcats never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Shelton state outscored NDSCS 28-10 in the paint and outrebounded the Wildcats 43-32, which helped make up for hitting just 38.1 percent from the floor.
“They’ve got a lot of good players and when they can rebound the ball as well as they do on both ends, their transition was able to get out and get some easy (baskets),” Wildcats head coach Tom Drybaugh said. “They used their size at basically every position against us and got our bigs in foul trouble a little bit and took away our aggressiveness on the inside.”
Dayuna Johnson led NDSCS with 14 points and Kailey Adams added 10 in the loss.
Offensively, the Lady Buccaneers were sluggish coming out of the gate and hit just one field goal through the first six minutes of the game. But their defense, after North Dakota SCS scored six of the game’s first seven points, locked down tight.
Four free throws by Adams and a bucket by Kyla Adams put the Wildcats up 6-1, but Shelton State answered with an 8-0 run to take a 11-9 lead that became a 13-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
That’s when Shelton’s press started to wear the Wildcats down and allowed the Lady Bucs to score 11 of the first 13 points of the second quarter to push their lead to 24-13. North Dakota SCS stayed there until a layup just before the buzzer by Johnson pulled the Wildcats to within eight at 28-20 at the intermission.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half, but what hurt the Wildcats were the 16 turnovers that turned into 14 points for the Lady Bucs, as compared to five points off 11 Shelton turnovers. Shelton also held a 12-6 advantage on points in the paint.
Johnson led all scorers with eight points in the first half while nobody for Shelton had more than Reier’s five points.