EMCC Lady Lions to open NJCAA Region 23 Basketball Tournament at Coahoma

Published 10:10 am Monday, February 27, 2023

SCOOBA – The 12th-seeded Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College will travel to Clarksdale to take on the fifth-seeded Coahoma Community College Lady Tigers during Monday’s opening round of the 2023 NJCAA Region 23 Women’s Basketball Tournament. Tip-off time is set for 6 p.m. at The Pinnacle on the CCC campus.

With the top four teams from the women’s final regular-season MACCC basketball standings receiving an opening-round bye, the first two rounds of this year’s 12-team region tournament will be played on campus sites Monday (Feb. 27) and Wednesday (March 1). The week-long tournament is then set to conclude during the weekend (March 4-5) at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum in Clinton. The women’s tournament semifinals will be played Saturday at noon and 2 p.m., followed by the men’s semifinals at 5 and 7 p.m. Sunday’s championship contests are set for 3 p.m. (women) and 5 p.m. (men).

Following MACCC regular-season women’s champion and nationally ninth-ranked Jones College (22-3, 14-0 MACCC) in the conference standings, the other women’s teams receiving opening-round byes in this week’s Region 23 tournament are No. 2 seed Pearl River (22-2, 12-2), third-seeded Meridian (23-3, 12-2), and No. 4 seed Mississippi Gulf Coast (16-5, 11-3).

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The winner of Monday’s EMCC-Coahoma season series rubber game will advance to take on Gulf Coast during quarterfinal-round tournament action to be played Wednesday evening in Perkinston. Wednesday’s scheduled tip-off time will be 6 p.m. at Dantzler Arena.

Monday’s first-round tournament matchup between EMCC’s Lady Lions (7-14, 5-9 MACCC) and Coahoma’s Lady Tigers (12-9, 8-6) will feature the season’s third head-to-head meeting between good friends on and off the hardwood sidelines. EMCC first-year head women’s coach Isaiah Butler and Coahoma’s Stephanie Murphy coached together on the CCC women’s staff during the previous four seasons to help turn around the Lady Tigers’ basketball program. After Butler earned his first career collegiate win as a head coach with EMCC’s 46-43 non-conference home victory over Coahoma back on Nov. 10 in Scooba, the Lady Tigers evened the season series nearly three months later (Feb. 6) with a decisive 73-48 home triumph over the Lady Lions in Clarksdale.

During the season’s November meeting in Scooba, Sadie Williams’ game-winning three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left in the contest sealed the Lady Lions’ first win of the season for their first-year head coach. In the year’s initial matchup, EMCC was led by Gabby Collier’s 12 points on a trio of three-pointers. Sukkima Suell approached a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds for the Lady Lions, while Kennedi Jimison followed with eight points. Coahoma’s Tiara Abron and Elishia Wilson paced the way for Coahoma with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

During February’s rematch played in Clarksdale, the visiting Lady Lions stayed close until the Lady Tigers put on a three-point shooting display by hitting four treys during a two-minute stretch that extended Coahoma’s lead from 37-29 to 51-30 late in the third quarter. After outscoring EMCC, 23-8, during the period, the Lady Tigers went on to cruise to the 25-point home triumph. Suell and Collier topped the Lady Lions with 13 and 11 points, respectively, while CCC was led by Wilson’s 17 points and 18 rebounds along with 15 points from Janiya Jones.