Mesa Community College women’s basketball team set to host Scottsdale Community College in semi-final round of playoffs
The Mesa Community College women’s basketball team is heading to the Region I, Division II postseason for the 16th straight season as they will host Scottsdale Community College on March 8.
The Lady T-Birds finished the regular season ranked 11th in the country, with a 20-9 overall record and a 15-7 mark and have won four of their last six games.
MCC holds the two seed in the playoff standings, while Scottsdale holds the third seed.
The Fighting Artichokes finished their regular season with an 18-10 overall record and a 13-9 conference mark while winning four of their last six games.
SCC is the only Division II school in the ACCAC that has beaten the Lady T-Birds in both regular season meetings.
In the first meeting between MCC and SCC, the Fighting Artichokes were able to pull out a 59-70 victory back on Jan. 21. Scottsdale held a nine point lead going into the second half and the Lady T-Birds were never able to dig themselves out of the hole.
In their second meeting on Feb. 25, Scottsdale earned the victory 60-67. In this contest, MCC led 46-44 going into the final period, but were outscored 23-14 in the final 10 minutes of the loss.
In both games, MCC got themselves into foul trouble which allowed the Fighting Artichokes easy opportunities for points which they took advantage of, as SCC went 56-74 while MCC went 15-25.
In their first meeting, MCC had three starters with four or more fouls, while in the second matchup two Lady T-Birds fouled out of the game.
Head coach Kori Stephenson believes the key to her team staying out of foul trouble will be staying disciplined and knowing where to be on the floor at the right time.
“It’s more of us being disciplined and making sure we’re in the proper floor position, and then the other piece to that is we have to do a better job being more composed on the floor,” said Stephenson.
In both games, SCC got a big boost off the bench from Danay Williams.
Williams had 14 points and 14 rebounds in their first meeting, and 19 points and seven rebounds in their second game. Her 14 rebounds in their first meeting was a season high for Williams.
Another threat for the Fighting Artichokes is Monique Shim.
Shim, a sophomore guard, ranks fifth in the ACCAC in points per game with 15.1. She also is one of the best shooters behind the three point line in the conference, as she has made the second most threes this season with 81.
In game one between the two teams, MCC was led in scoring by Mackenzie Shivers with 18 points.
However, Shivers won’t suit up for the Lady T-Birds in their playoff battle after suffering a season ending injury during their game against Yavapai College on Feb. 15.
The freshman guard did a little of everything for the Lady T-Birds, as she averaged 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.
In the four games without Shivers, Stephenson and her team have had to adjust without one of their leading scorers on the floor. The Lady T-Birds are piecing it all together right when they need to in the eyes of their coach.
“I think we’re just now figuring out, it’s just now figuring out within practice and our last game against South Mountain we’re starting to look like we’re gelling better,” said Stephenson, “we’re starting that process right in the nick of time.”
MCC is led in scoring by Nia Boston, who averages 13.2 points a game and is followed closely by her teammate Mykah Anderson, who puts in 12.7 points per contest.
Two aspects of the game that the Lady T-Birds thrive at is shooting beyond the arc and rebounding the basketball. The team also has high defensive prowess, as they lead the conference in blocks per game.
MCC attempts just over 27 threes per game, and connect on 9.3 per game over the course of the season.
Annemarie Batista, a freshman forward, ranks 4th in the conference when it comes to three-point percentage, as she connects at a 38.7% clip.
The Lady T-Birds also rank 4th in the ACCAC when it comes to total rebounds, as they grab 38.3 per game.
Sophomore forward Love Troupe ranks 5th in the conference in total rebounds per game with 7.9, and 3rd in the conference in offensive boards per game as she grabs 3.9 on average.
Troupe has grabbed double digit rebounds in 10 games this season, including three games where she had six offensive rebounds.
The game between the Fighting Artichokes and Lady T-Birds is sure to be an exciting one and will be a test for both squads.
The winner will either travel to take on the No. 1 seed Pima Community College Aztecs or will host the No. 4 seed Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes in the Region I DII finals.