BRENHAM, Texas — Although the Blinn College women's basketball team (10-3, 1-2) held a 15-point lead in the third quarter against No. 3 Trinity Valley Community College on Wednesday night in the Kruse Center, the Lady Cardinals managed to rally back to defeat the Buccaneers, 97-86.
"I was proud of our effort and competitiveness tonight, but the turnovers hurt us," said Jeff Jenkins, Blinn head coach. "I think we are fun to watch and really good offensively. However, you can't give a team that many points and get an upset, so we will be more prepared for them defensively next time."
Kristine Ezimako lead the Buccaneers with a team-high 20 points, Briauna Johnson followed with 17 points, while Keaundra Eddings was next with 10. Ah'Jaya Johnson scored nine points and Hailey Atwood tallied seven.
"This was a really tough loss because we really wanted to defeat the third-ranked team in the nation, but we are ready to get back to practice and will be better defensively and offensively next time we see them," Ezimako said.
Blinn came out strong and took an early seven-point lead in the first quarter. With the game tied 6-6, Ezimako and Alanna Spencer combined for five points for Blinn to lead the Cardinals 11-6. Atwood, Briauna Johnson, and Ezimako all chipped in with 3-pointers to help the Buccaneers hold a 28-21 advantage entering the second quarter.
With 8:39 left in the second quarter, Blinn took a 10-point lead (31-21) as Mia Cherry and Ah'Jaya Johnson combined for the first three points in the period. Spencer hit a 3-pointer and Eddings followed with the next five points for Blinn to lead 42-31. Johnson hit the final 3-pointer of the first half and Tanea Sims scored the final point at the free-throw line for the Buccaneers to lead 46-37 at the break.
Blinn kept the momentum rolling out of the half as Briauna Johnson and Ezimako each shot 3-pointers for the Buccaneers to pull ahead by 15 points, 52-37. Trinity Valley went on a 18-4 run to gain on Blinn 56-55 at the 5:39 mark, however Atwood and Ah'Jaya Johnson combined for the next five points to keep the Buccaneers ahead 60-55. Ezimako continued to roll offensively and lead Blinn on a 10-2 run with two shots from downtown to give the Buccaneers a 70-63 advantage. Ah'Jaya Johnson hit a 2-pointer at the buzzer for Blinn to lead 72-69 entering the final quarter.
Blinn continued to lead in the final quarter until Trinity Valley grabbed a 78-77 advantage. Ah'Jaya Johnson scored four straight points for Blinn to close in on the Lady Cardinals 85-81 with four minutes to play. However, Trinity Valley kept the momentum on its side to finish the game on a 12-5 run for the win.
Next, Blinn will take on McLennan Community College on the road when the Buccaneers return from the holiday break on Monday, December 30, at 5:30 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.