The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 19, 2013

Crowder preps for Central Arizona at nationals

Crowder College faces a formidable challenge today in the second round of the 24-team NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

That’s expected, of course, with the Lady ’Riders seeded 15th and their opponent No. 2.

Crowder (29-5) and Central Arizona (29-1) are scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. in the Bicentennial Center at Salina, Kan.

Central Arizona, located at Coolidge, had a first-round bye. Crowder eliminated No. 18 Redlands 69-64 on Monday night.

Central Arizona has lost only a 66-63 decision to Trinity Valley (Texas) and the Cardinals are the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Central also is ranked second to Trinity by the NJCAA.

Crowder coach Tina Robbins, who held a one-hour practice on Tuesday at Southeast of Saline High School, said she’s been able to secure one film — a January game — on the Vaqueras.

“Central Arizona (coached by Denise Cardenas) is very athletic with a lot of size,” Robbins said. “They have a lot of tradition. They’ve been to the nationals several times as well as winning multiple championships.

“Our players are excited about the challenge,” Robbins said. “Hopefully, it’s to our advantage we have a game under our belts. I’ve told our players to just go out and continue doing what they’ve been doing to reach the nationals.”

Robbins said three players do the bulk of the scoring for Central Arizona.

Robbins said that 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Brea Edwards (Rockford, Ill.) had a recent average of more than 22 points. Ijeoma Uchendu, 6-1 veteran from Nigeria, was averaging 16.5 points and 6-2 freshman Joymesia Howard (St. Louis) was at 16.

Crowder received 21 points from Terai Sadler and 14 apiece from Veronica Amos and Caprese Marshall in ousting Redlands. Amos and Sadler also combined for 20 rebounds.

Robbins, a standout at Missouri State following an all-state career at Joplin High School, said she’s had no contact with either MSU or Drury who are in the market for head coaches.

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