OVERLAND PARK, Kansas - The shots were falling from the outset for the Monroe Community College women's basketball team on Thursday. Couple that with an active and disruptive defense, and the end result was a convincing, 78-55 win over North Arkansas in the NJCAA Division II national quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Tribunes (31-0) shot 52 percent on the game, including 10-for-19 from beyond the arc, and made all eight of their free throws. Monroe will face either Kansas City Kansas CC or Owens CC in the national semifinals Friday night.
Shanice Johnson once again led the way for the Tribunes, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four steals. Kiki Bynes added 13 points and six assists, Deja Carroll had 12, and Naje Gibson and Shyana McLeod tallied nine each.
MCC was hot right out of the gate. The Tribunes hit their first four 3's and totaled five in the first quarter alone as they raced to a 21-12 lead after 10 minutes. Bynes hit two of the 3's and broke down the North Arkansas defense and hit a layup at the buzzer.
Monroe went on a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to push the lead to 19. The Pioneers cut it down to 14 as the half winded down, but Monroe called a timeout and drew up a play for Gibson. The sophomore forward calmly hit a 3 from the top of the key with 2.8 seconds left, and Monroe led 43-26 at the break.
MCC then outscored North Arkansas 16-6 in the third to push the lead to 59-32. The advantage ballooned to as much as 30 in the fourth, and the Tribunes cruised to the victory.
Monroe held the Pioneers to 38 percent shooting, including 3-for-16 from 3-point range. North Arkansas committed 17 turnovers, which the Tribunes turned into 22 points.