The Meridian Community College Lady Eagles entered the opening round of the 2014 Region 23 Tournament Wednesday afternoon with its sights set on a possible run to a championship, but things would not turn out as planned for the green and white. Baton Rouge Community College was able to claw back from a double-digit deficit in the second half of play to slip past the Lady Eagles by a final score of 80-79. The Lady Bears improved to 22-6 with the first round victory, while MCC closes out the 2013-2014 season with a 19-7 overall record. Baton Rouge will now advance to the semi-final round of the Region 23 Tournament Friday afternoon against Co-Lin who defeated Jones County Junior College to open the tournament by a final count of 63-58.
MCC took a 43-30 halftime lead over Baton Rouge and the first half was sparked by Kristin Sampson and Victoria Stewart for the Lady Eagles. Sampson scored 16 points at the halftime break and Stewart tallied 13 points after one half. Sampson did most of her damage late in the first half of play with a pair of three-point buckets, while Stewart score eight of the first 12 points to open the game for MCC.
Baton Rouge slowly cut the MCC throughout the first ten minutes of the first half and eventually tied the game at 59-59 with 8:47 remaining in the game. The two teams swapped the lead on eight different occasions in the final five minutes of play and Ashley Williams of Baton Rouge would sink one of two free throws in the final two seconds to pace the Lady Bears to the victory.
Stewart led the Lady Eagles with a game-high 26 points, while Sampson finished her MCC career with 25 points in the loss. Freshman Miaya Crowder recorded a double-double in the setback with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.