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Defending National Champions Win Opener

March 22, 2001

Defending National Champions Win Opener



By JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent


The Johnson County Cavaliers from Kansas, who are the defending national champions, survived a tough battle with South Suburban (Illinois) in the opening round of the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Championship Tournament on Wednesday at the HCC athletic complex.

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After losing a 12-point halftime lead and going behind by eight points, Johnson County came from behind to pull out a narrow 70-69 victory over South Suburban.

"I told them that as long as we play good defense, then the offense will take care of itself," Johnson County coach Debbie Carrier said. "That has been my emphasis all year long. When we switched to the zone defense, that kept them from getting the shots that they wanted."

Johnson County, which was ranked ninth in the final poll, played a fine first half as it built a 47-35 halftime lead.

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However, South Suburban outscored Johnson County 28-8 during the first 12 1/2 minutes of the second half to take a 63-55 advantage.

But Johnson County answered back by outscoring South Suburban 15-1 during the next 3 1/2 minutes to take the lead for good at 70-64 with 4:12 remaining.

Johnson County hanged on to win the game, even though it was outscored 5-0 by South Suburban for the rest of the way.

"I know that my team is always going to play hard," Carrier added. "The intensity is always going to be there. We're just going to take it one game at a time to defend our championship."

Point guard Lynsay Gallagher led Johnson County with 14 points and six assists. Gayla Brown added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Casey Ellis scored 11 points for Johnson County.

Lennetta Bentley scored 25 points, while Katie Williams collected 19 points and nine rebounds for South Suburban.

Top-ranked Kalamazoo (Michigan) survived a scare from fifth-ranked Glendale (Arizona) by pulling out a 70-69 overtime victory.

Danaea Williams led the way for Kalamazoo with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Five of Williams' points came during the overtime period. Erika Thompson scored 12 points, while April Danzy and Julie Porter added 11 points each for Kalamazoo.

Jessica Melvin scored 21 points and Erica Matthews added 16 points for Glendale.

Kandy and Kris Lindsey, who are a pair of 5-foot-4 twin guards, led unranked Lake Land (Illinois) to an 85-70 upset victory over second-ranked Penn Valley (Missouri). Kandy Lindsey collected 33 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Kris Lindsay added 14 points and eight assists for Lake Land.

Keasha Cannon led Penn Valley with 27 points and 17 rebounds.

Fourth-ranked Monroe (New York) beat seventh-ranked Schoolcraft (Michigan) 64-43.

Iesha Eldridge grabbed 15 rebounds, while Christina Volpe added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Monroe. Taisha Roberts scored 15 points and Tynecia Pam had 11 points for Monroe.

Devin Francois led Schoolcraft with 16 points.

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