Lady Tigers advance to southwest regional

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Call it first-time jitters or just call it being over confident.

The McKenzie Lady Tiger basketball team earned a berth in the Southwest Regional tournament Thursday night by knocking off an overmatched Frisco City squad 43-32 even with a sub-par effort.

McKenzie (20-7) built a 20-point lead by the end of the third period over the Lady Whippets, but that lead looked to be in jeopardy by the 4:42 mark in the final period when Frisco City had a number of chances to draw within 10 points or less of the Lady Tigers.

&#8220We didn't play our best game tonight,” McKenzie point guard Akeia Owens said. &#8220I don't know what it was, but we didn't play our game.”

The Lady Tigers advance to face Sunshine at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama. Sunshine advanced to the Southwest Regional by crushing A.L. Johnson, 71-41.

&#8220After the way we played tonight, it looks like we are going to have to practice the basics,” said disappointed McKenzie coach Cindy Lowe.

Both teams were sluggish to open the game. Neither team managed a basket until the 3:34 mark in the first period. McKenzie then crawled out to a 7-0 lead heading into the second period.

Frisco City (10-15) also struggled. The Lady Whippets first field goal of the night came with 5:40 remaining before the half.

&#8220We didn't have one of our players for the game tonight, and she would have given us the inside presence we needed,” said Frisco City coach Larry Snowden. &#8220They still whipped us though.”

Despite a lackluster performance on both ends of the court, McKenzie managed to take a 23-12 lead into the intermission.

Then the Lady Tigers hit one spurt that put them over the hump in the third period. McKenzie went on a 15-2 run early in the period to build a comfortable 22-point lead that held strong even when the Lady Tigers went ice cold in the final period.

&#8220I don't know what happened there in the fourth,” Lowe said. &#8220We couldn't shoot, rebound or score. It was a win, but it wasn't a good win.”

LaSha Pitts led McKenzie with a game-high 17 points, while Amber Rudolph and Owens pitched in nine points each.

Shallunda Parker led Frisco City with 14.