Tyler On Top, Again
The 17-seed Apache Ladies of Tyler Junior College defeated the 3-seed Georgia Highland Chargers 92-80 in the NJCAA women’s national championship. Defense set the stage as TJC held the Chargers to less than 20 points in the second and third quarters. Although Georgia Highlands made it rain from the 3-point line, the team’s ability to draw fouls in the post really made a difference offensively. TJC shot 29-39 at the free-throw line as Georgia Highlands went 10-20.
TJC had incredible offensive performances from Taryn Wills and Nadechka Laccen with both scoring more than 20 points. Laccen also paired up with her teammate and game MVP Faderera Ogaymei to have a combined 28 rebounds. That really gave them the edge when it came to second-chance points: 22 points in that category, double the 11 scored by Georgia Highlands.
The Chargers did not go out without a fight in their first-ever championship appearance, getting huge performances out of the league's player of the year, Jashanti Simmons, and her teammate Alexandra Shishkina. They kept them in the game offensively and defensively. Running the offense and causing havoc defensively was Taiwanese star Sandra Lin with 12 assists and 7 steals, leading both teams. They were able to force pressure on TJC throughout the game to keep them off balance.
This marked TJC’s third championship game and second national title win in their history. Ending a 22-year national championship drought, TJC embodied the underdog story throughout the entire tournament with every single opponent they faced being a higher seed, including knocking off the number one seed Three Rivers.
Trenia Hoard has been selected the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Coach of the Year in her 22nd season as the Apache's head coach. This accomplishment gets even sweeter as she has become the first African American women's head coach to win the championship and has made history for the school by bringing them their 67th national title across all sports.
The last time that TJC played in a national championship game came in the year 2000. The Apache Ladies defeated Southwestern Illinois, 57-39 to win their first title.
Georgia Highlands' Jashanti Simmons is the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Player of the Year as well as:
NJCAA Southeast District Champion
NJCAA First Team All-American
2022 WBCA Two-Year College Coaches' All-American
2022 WBCA Two-Year College Player of the Year
Dais'Ja Trotter from Rend Lake College ended the season as the top scorer in the league, averaging 24.4 points a game and scoring 733 points this season in 30 games played leading the league in both.
When it came to grabbing boards, Cordasia Harris from Bishop State College takes the crown averaging 15.1 rebounds a game with 462 total on the season in 29 games.
Lastly, the player who excelled in dropping dimes to their teammates all season is Shaulana Wagner from Wabash Valley College averaging 7.8 assists per game with a total of 217 assists on the season in 28 games.
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