Aaliyah Lee hit for a traditional three-point play to break open a tight game down the stretch as the Lady Greyhounds defeated the third-seeded Kansas City Kansas CC Lady Blue Devils 67-62 Friday at the NJCAA National Tournament in Hickory, North Carolina. With the National Tournament having been cancelled in 2020, the Lady Blue Devils were defending National Champions having won the title in 2019 and in 2016.
With 4:00 to go and the game tied 60-60, Aaliyah Lee drove and hit a layup and was fouled, then converted the free throw to give the Lady Greyhounds a 63-60 lead with 3:46 remaining. Then after the Lady Blue Devils scored off an offensive rebound, Cierra Penn drove and hit a scoop shot to push the lead to 65-62. The ASU Mid-South defense then kicked in and a minute later Meleanna Williams was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:35 left for a 66-62 lead. After yet another defensive stop, Keiana Delaney was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws for the final margin.
The Lady Greyhounds (24-2) played well in the first half and never trailed, pushing a 22-18 lead after the first quarter to 37-30 at the half. But Kansas City Kansas (21-4), ranked #5 in the final National Rankings, scored the first 8 points of the third quarter to take their first lead of the game 38-37 with 7:04 left in the period. The Lady Greyhounds then went to Lee who gave them back a lead that was short-lived as the Lady Blue Devils then went on a 7-0 run to lead 45-39 with 4:10 left in the third quarter. But ASU Mid-South battled back to tie the score 49-49 by the end of the period to set up the deciding fourth quarter.
Cierra Penn led all scorers with 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while dishing out 4 assists while shooting 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from the three-point line. Keiana Delaney finished with 14 points, Aaliyah Lee scored 13 points to go with 6 rebounds, and Meleanna Williams dropped in 11 points to go with 4 boards, 2 assists and a team-high 3 steals. The Lady Greyhounds shot 40.7% from the field and 35.7% from the three-point line, both team-highs in their three tournament games. They were helped by 28 Kansas City Kansas turnovers and edged the Lady Blue Devils on the boards, 36-34.
The win puts the Lady Greyhounds playing Friday at 11:00am (EST) in the 7th Place game against the winner of Pima (AZ) and Grand Rapids (MI).