Region XV school and defending NJCAA Division III National Champions Monroe College concluded another stellar season by finishing third in the NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championships at Mohawk Valley Community College. The Lady Mustangs defeated College of DuPage in 87-71 following an overtime defeat to eventual champions Anoka-Ramsey in a hard fought battle in the semifinals 81-78. The following is a review of the tournament by Monroe Director of Public Relations Gary Axelbank:
With a stifling defense that launched them to an insurmountable 44-12 halftime lead, the defending national champion Monroe College Lady Mustangs took a big step toward a repeat with a convincing 86-37 quarter-final victory over Holyoke CC (MA) this afternoon in the NJCAA, Women's Division III National Tournament. In Monroe's balanced attack, 13 of the 15 players on the Monroe roster scored in the game.
Frantic. Rough. Frustrating. Exhilarating. Exciting. But ultimately, disappointing. Those adjectives all describe the Monroe Lady Mustangs 81-78 overtime loss to Anoka-Ramsey CC (MN) in a semifinal game of the NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championships.
Down 17-6 with 11 minutes to go in the first half, Monroe's defense rallied and the Lady Mustangs pulled even at 22 at the half. Down by 8 with 2.5 minutes left, then 5 in the final minute, Monroe again tied it (60-60) at the end of regulation. But the defensive war of attrition began to take hold as Monroe's two Angela's: Region XV Player of the Year Angela Pace and First Team All-star Angela Speight each fouled out. Later on in overtime, guards Patrice Griffin and Tierra Cleaves were also disqualified. Two Anoka players fouled out as well. A last second three-point attempt was off the mark and Monroe's fate was sealed.
Ironically it was Anoka-Ramsey who gave Monroe its last Division III loss, a 64-60 defeat, in the 2005 National Final.
Rebounding nicely from Friday's grueling overtime semifinal defeat, this evening the Monroe Lady Mustangs women's basketball team handily beat the College of Dupage (IL) 87-71 in the third place game of the NJCAA Division III National Tournament in Utica, NY. As a result Monroe finishes third in the eight-team tournament and completes the season with a 30-3 record.
Brookdale Community College, NJ
All Tournament Team:
Camil Fletcher - Caldwell Community Technical College, NC
Angela Pace - Monroe College, NY
Vaiva Peterson - College of DuPage, Ill.
Shanai Norman - Mohawk Valley Community College, NY
Jessica Jenkins - Mohawk Valley Community College, NY
Christina Mann - Mohawk Valley Community College, NY
Marlayna Graff - Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minn.
Amanda Reh - Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minn.
Sonja Ellingson - Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minn.
Coach of the Tournament:
Dave DeWitt - Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minn.