The Blinn College women's basketball team is headed to the NJCAA national tournament for just the second time in program history.
The Buccaneers received one of four at-large bids to the national tournament, the NJCAA announced today, rewarding Blinn for a 30-3 season in which all the Buccaneers' losses came against defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley Community College. One of those losses came in overtime.
"We're definitely not going to take it for granted," Blinn coach Jeff Jenkins said. "These young ladies have really accomplished something special."
The ninth-seeded Buccaneers will open the tournament at noon Monday, March 18, at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kan. against 24th-seeded Kaskaskia (Ill.) Community College (24-8). The tournament runs March 18-23. All tournament games will be aired live on NJCAA TV.
This marks the first year in which the NJCAA has expanded the tournament from 16 to 24 teams with the addition of four at-large teams and four zone qualifiers. Kaskaskia is one of the four zone entries.
Blinn's only previous appearance at the national tournament came in 1989 under coach Wayne Williams. Blinn lost to Western Texas in the first round.
The Buccaneers burst onto the national scene after winning their first 16 games this season. Sophomore forward Audrisa Harrison leads the team with 15.8 points per game, and freshman forward Fatima Adams has averaged 12.7 points. Sophomore guard Jazzmin Parker has also reached double digits with 11.1 points per game, and freshman guard Moe Bedford has tallied 8.5 points per game.
Harrison leads the team with 10.4 rebounds per game and Adams averages 8.8. Sophomore guard Aarika Reyna averages a team-high 3.7 assists per game.
The Buccaneers, who average 77.6 points per game, advanced to the finals of the Region XIV Conference championships by defeating Paris and Jacksonville before falling to Trinity Valley.
"This team just finds ways to win," Jenkins said. "They've been in a lot of close games and for the most part they've been able to pull it out this season. We have talented players who can score and we have really good depth."
Blinn was ranked eighth in the final NJCAA poll.
For more information on Blinn basketball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
NOTE: At-large selections made by the NJCAA DI Women's Basketball At-Large Selection Committee. Seeding was compiled by the NJCAA DI Women's Basketball Committee.