Garcia lifts Sandburg into Division II title berth

March 22, 1997


Staff Correspondent

It might be stretching it a bit to say that Carl Sandburg College substitute point guard Angel Garcia is 5-foot-5 as is listed on the roster. But when starter Tara Petty fouled out with three minutes left in the game, no one stood taller than Garcia.

Garcia came up big, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:04 left to extend a tentative lead and the Chargers held off Illinois Central, 79-74, to earn a berth in tonight's NJCAA Women's Division II national championship final against Kirkwood (Iowa) at 8 p.m.

"It's stretching it for us to go seven or eight deep," said Carl Sandburg coach Stephen Shearer. "We got in foul trouble early, and had to play extremely cautious and battle through the adversity. There were so many momentum changes. Fortunately, we had them when it counted."


Carl Sandburg (29-6) bolted to a 15-5 lead and got 13 first-half points from freshman center Roslyn Turner. Illinois Central rallied using full-court pressure defense and the strong inside play of Julie Stear and Diana Cox, who combined for 17 of the Lady Cougars' 24 first-half rebounds.

Stear and Cox each scored 12 first-half points, eventually pulling the Lady Cougars even with three minutes until the half. Illinois Central forged a 40-37 lead at the break.

The Chargers forced seven lead changes until the 10-minute mark, when Garcia - who finished with 11 points - hit a pull-up jumper to give Carl Sandburg a 59-57 lead it never relinquished.

"Both teams run similar offenses," said Shearer. "Fortunately, we were able to capitalize on some things and they weren't. After Garcia's trey and the four-point cushion with 55 seconds left, we knew it was a two-possession game, no matter what. And we held them off."

Turner finished with a team-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Tara Miller added 20 points and Mary Baker 16.

For Illinois Central, Stear scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down 21 rebounds. Cox scored 16 and Pauline Harris finished with 11 points.

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