ROCHESTER - The MCC women's basketball team captured the Region III, Division II championship with an 80-68 victory over Niagara County Community College Sunday afternoon.
A key 20-4 run to end the first half was the turning point for the Tribunes (26-3), who will now advance to the NJCAA Division II national tournament, March 21-25, in Harrison Ark.
It is the 17th regional title in team history.
The teams traded baskets early and Monroe led 17-15 after the first quarter. The Tribunes jumped ahead by seven on a jumper by tournament MVP Torrie Cash before Niagara responded with a 3 to cut it to 26-22 with 6:39 to go in the half. That's when the Tribunes started the game-changing run.
Lanay Rodney started it by scoring off her own miss. The ensuing Niagara possession ended in a steal by Monroe's Caitie Broderick, and Rodney again crashed the offensive glass for a putback to make it 30-22.
The freshman forward continued to work hard in the paint for MCC. Rodney corralled a missed MCC 3 and put back the layup to make it a 10-point lead. Sierra Green then hit a free throw, and Cash made a layup after a Shalix Hines steal to push MCC up by 13.
Rodney added a 3 and a layup, Green connected from long distance, and Cash finished the run with another 3 with five seconds left to give MCC a 46-26 lead heading to the locker room.
The Tribunes added to their lead in the third and held off Niagara's late charges in the fourth.
Cash continued to stuff the stat sheets to earn MVP honors. The freshman accumulated 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals to pace MCC. Rodney finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while Green added 17. Jaynelle Robinson chipped in with 12 points and five boards.
Hines finished with eight points and five assists, and Broderick tallied eight rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Hines, Broderick, and Rodney joined Cash on the all-tournament team.