ICC WBB advance to Final Four

The #8 seeded ICC women’s basketball team put on a defensive clinic to overpower #1 seeded Kirkwood 51-40 on Thursday night at the NJCAA DII National Tournament in Hickory, NC. With the win, the Cougars advance to the Final Four where they’ll face #4 seeded Johnson County in semi-final action on Friday at 8:00 pm CST. The defensive effort was relentless as ICC held Kirkwood to just 10 points in the middle two quarters, hurried them into 14-57 field goal shooting (25%) on the night (including a 1-22 from three-point range for just 4%), and did not allow any Eagles to reach double figures to help get the victory.

ICC never trailed in this one as Kayla Gordon hit two three-pointers in the opening minutes (assists Courtney Jones) that gave ICC an 8-3 lead midway through the quarter. Gordon took a charge which got the defense in sync followed by a Keijah Gray put-back and Camryn Stafford bucket which gave the Blue & Gold a narrow 14-12 advantage after one quarter. Second quarter scores were sporadic due to nine ICC turnovers, but a steal by Gordon led to a Cierra McNamee basket, a Gordon floater, Kristyn Mitchell two freebies, and another Gordon basket gave ICC a 24-14 halftime lead as the ICC defense held the Eagles to just one field goal in the period.

The swarming defense continued into the third as ICC allowed only three Kirkwood free throws the first nine minutes to stretch the lead to as big as 37-17. Offensively, Gordon had a put-back and layup, followed by a Mitchell three-pointer (assist Jones), and four points by Ayanna Gibbs. Kirkwood managed a 5-0 run to end the quarter and cut the Cougar lead to 37-22 heading into the final stanza.

The fourth period was a bit anti-climactic as the Cougars held Kirkwood at bay. Gibbs found McNamee for a bucket inside, Gordon took another charge, and Edwards made a dipsy-do runner to put ICC up 46-30 with 2:20 left. Kirkwood went on a late flurry but it was too little, too late as the Cougars survived and advanced to Friday night’s semi-final.

Individual stats

McNamee (9reb/5pts)
Mitchell (12 pts/6reb)
Gordon (19pts/6reb/5stls)
Jones (4 asts)
Edwards (5pts/3reb)
Buchanan (3reb)
Gray (2pts/2reb)
Metts (2pts)
Stafford (6pts)
Gibbs (4pts/2reb)

Up next

Friday vs. Johnson County (KS) at 8pm CST. Livestream for purchase available on njccaa.org/network or fans can listen to Alex Staab on mixlr at mixlr.com/icc-womens-basketball.