SHREVEPORT, La. — The No. 24 Blinn College women's basketball team (25-6, 13-5) defeated Paris Junior College, 62-58, in the Region XIV quarterfinals Wednesday night in the Centenary College Gold Dome.
With the win, the Buccaneers advance to the Region XIV semifinals where they will face the winner of tonight's game between Panola College and Angelina College on Friday, March 6, at 3 p.m.
"March Madness – we found a way to win – we survived and advanced," said Jeff Jenkins, Blinn head coach. "We cannot continue to have 27 turnovers, shoot 20 percent from behind the arc, 59 percent from the free throw line, and send the opponent to the free throw line 28 times if we want to advance again."
Hailey Atwood led Blinn's offense with 16 points, while Kristine Ezimako followed with 12. Mia Cherry chipped in nine points, Keaundra Eddings recorded six, and Jessica Soders and Gabriela Bosquez each tallied five.
On defense, Ezimako led with 14 rebounds, while Cherry and Bosquez each totaled six.
Ezimako led Blinn's offense through the first quarter with nine points for the Buccaneers to hold a 16-8 advantage. Tied 7-7 at the 3:23 mark, the Buccaneers managed a 7-0 run led by Ezimako with a layup and 3-pointer. Alex Bowman concluded the opening quarter going 2-for-4 at the free throw line.
Blinn broke open the game by going on a 10-0 run in the second quarter as Atwood led the way with six points for the Buccaneers to lead 26-11. Blinn mounted another 10-0 run thanks to a duo of 3-pointers by Eddings and Cherry for Blinn to lead 35-14. The Buccaneers led 35-18 at halftime.
The Buccaneers came out of the third quarter strong as Soders and Bosquez each made 3-pointers for Blinn to lead 41-18. A stifling Blinn defense kept Paris off the board until the 4:06 mark. The momentum shifted in the Lady Dragons' favor as they went on a 13-1 run to trail Blinn 44-33 at the end of the quarter.
A 6-0 run led by Atwood with four points kept Blinn ahead 50-37 to begin the final quarter. Paris rallied to trail Blinn 58-51 with one minute remaining, but the Buccaneers never let go of the lead. Atwood went 2-for-2 at the free throw line and Cherry made a layup to keep Blinn on top 62-53. Paris scored the final five points in the game, but the Buccaneers fought off the Lady Dragons for the four-point win.
The Buccaneers are advancing to semifinals for the first time since 2016 when Blinn won the Region XIV Tournament and finished in the Sweet 16.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.