MCC defeats Kirkwood to claim NJCAA national title

MCC defeats Kirkwood to claim NJCAA national title

HARRISON, Arkansas - The MCC women's basketball team won the 2018 NJCAA Division II national championship with a thrilling 62-58 victory over Kirkwood Community College Saturday evening.

The win caps yet another incredible season for the Lady Tribunes (33-2), who took home their fifth national title overall and first since 2006. Tim Parrinello, who was named Coach of the Tournament, has presided over all five and now can fill a hand with championship rings.

Sophomore center Jaynelle Robinson was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after a dominating four-game performance in which she exerted her will on both the offensive and defensive ends. She was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow sophomores Sierra Green and Lanay Rodney.

As was expected between two teams with championship pedigrees and plenty of trophies in their respective trophy cases, the game came down to the wire. Monroe actually jumped out to a 12-point lead early in the third before the Eagles responded to close to within four heading to the fourth.

Shalix Hines hit a layup and followed with a 3-pointer to restore a seven-point lead for MCC. But Kirkwood followed with five straight to stay close. 

Torrie Cash then came through with a clutch 3-point play to make it 56-51 as time ticked down. Kirkwood again battled back with a 3 to cut the lead back to two.

Hines was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 58-54 with 2:11 remaining. Kirkwood came up empty on its next possession, and Green proceeded to do what she did throughout her entire Tribune career: She hit a huge 3-pointer.

The trifecta with 1:35 to go pushed the lead to seven.  Hines added another free throw, and Monroe survived a couple late Kirkwood baskets and the frantic final seconds to claim yet another national title for the storied program.

Hines finished with 18 points on the night. Green hit four 3's and scored 14 and Cash had 10 points and seven boards. Rodney tallied eight points, while Robinson put up seven points and eight rebounds.