SCOOBA, Miss. – The top-seeded East Mississippi women’s basketball team takes on fourth-seeded Southwest Mississippi Monday at noon in the opening game of the 2009 MACJC State Basketball Tournament in Ellisville. Hosted by Jones County Junior College, the four-day event will take place at JCJC’s Bobcat Gymnasium.
Poised just outside the NJCAA’s Top 25 with 13 voting points a week ago, coach Sharon Thompson’s 20-4 Lady Lions enter postseason play on a 10-game winning streak while having won 16 of their last 18 decisions, including an 11-1 mark against North Division competition. In making their second straight state tournament appearance, the Lady Lions are in the midst of putting together their best season since going 21-6 overall and a perfect 12-0 in North Division play under the guidance of former women’s coach Dale Peay in 1992-93.
With the Lady Lions and Lady Bears set to meet on the hardwood for the first time this season, the EMCC-SMCC winner will advance to meet the winner of the Jones County-Northwest Mississippi contest Wednesday at 5 p.m.
This year’s EMCC women’s squad is led by the talented frontline tandem of sophomore Angelique Burtts of Conyers, Ga., and freshman Martika Hull of Southeast Lauderdale High School. A Georgia State signee, Burtts tops the Lady Lions in scoring (15.9 ppg; 42nd among NJCAA leaders) and rebounding (7.4 rpg). The 5-foot-11 standout also averages 2.5 steals and 2.1 assists per contest, along with shooting 51 percent from the field and 70 percent from the charity stripe.
A first-year player from Meridian, Hull averages 13.4 points per game and ranks fifth nationally shooting 64 percent from the field on the season. With a team-high seven double-doubles on the year, the 5-foot-11 rookie also averages 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per outing.
Sophomore playmaker Kottia White of Jackson Murrah averages 9.7 points, 3.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.0 rebounds per contest from her point guard position, while fellow sophomore Jasmine Abrams of Columbus contributes 8.0 points and 7.4 boards a game primarily as a substitute.
Men’s opening-round action at this week’s state tournament will take place Tuesday on the JCJC campus, with the 15-9 and third-seeded EMCC Lions taking on second-seeded Mississippi Gulf Coast at 2 p.m.
Women’s semifinals for this week’s MACJC State Tournament are set for noon and 5 p.m., while the men’s semifinals are slated for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Thursday’s championship contests will be played at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men).
Admission for the MACJC State Basketball Tournament will be $5 per day or $15 for a tournament pass. Children 5 years of age and younger will be admitted free of charge.
In addition, all 14 games of the Jones County-hosted state tournament will be televised at www.jcjc.tv. Fans will also be able to access the site by visiting www.jcjc.edu and clicking on the link.