Buccaneers claim program's first national tournament victory

SALINA, Kan. – The Blinn Buccaneers just keep making history.

Blinn captured the first national tournament victory in program history today with a 72-63 victory over Kaskaskia (Ill.) College at the Bicentennial Center. The Buccaneers now advance to play eighth-seeded Darton (Ga.) State (30-3) in a second-round game at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Darton State received a bye in the first round.

The Buccaneers, who improved to 31-3 on the season, built upon an already historic season. The Buccaneers have already won more games than any team in program history, and coach Jeff Jenkins became the winningest coach in program history earlier this year. This season marks Blinn's second appearance at the NJCAA Basketball Championship and its first since 1989.

Freshman forward Fatima Adams led the Buccaneers to the historic victory with a team-high 19 points and completed the double-double with 13 rebounds. Blinn led 48-30 at halftime.

"Fatima's a special player," Jenkins said. "She carried us the first half. That's why she was named all-region as a freshman."

Sophomore forward Audrisa Harrison also posted a double-double as she tallied 16 points and 18 rebounds despite painful back spasms.

"I knew she was hurting and I wanted to take her out, but she's such a good defensive rebounder that I couldn't afford to take her off the floor," Jenkins said. "She plays as hard as she can on every possession."

Amari Jones grabbed eight rebounds for the Buccaneers and Shanequa Gaston grabbed six in five minutes of playing time. Blinn out-rebounded Kaskaskia 71-48 for the game, including 23 offensive rebounds.

"We rebounded well and that was huge,"Jenkins said. "When they miss, it's nice to not give them second opportunities. When we're successful, we usually outrebound our opponents by 10 or more."

Sophomore guard Jazzmin Parker scored 16 points and guard Aarika Reyna scored eight points with a pair of 3-pointers.

"They played zone on us in the second half and Jazzmin kept finding openings in the middle of the zone," Jenkins said. "She's a great offensive player and when we're struggling against the zone, it's nice to get the ball in her hands."

Adrina LaVern led Kaskaskia with a game-high 20 points while Makeba Elliott and Alex Stanford each scored 11.