Rodney takes over as MCC rolls in tourney opener

Rodney takes over as MCC rolls in tourney opener

HARRISON, Arkansas - Lanay Rodney scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the pivotal third quarter and the top-seeded MCC women's basketball team took command in the second half in a 78-43 win over Harcum College in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II national tournament Tuesday evening.

Rodney outscored the 16th-seeded Bears 14-4 herself in a run that spanned much of the third as MCC (30-2) held a 23-8 edge in the frame. That turned an 11-point halftime advantage into a 26-point lead heading to the fourth. 

MCC now moves on to the national quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of Ancilla College and Illinois Central Thursday at 7 p.m.

Rodney started the run with a 3-pointer. After a Harcum bucket, she added three consecutive layups to push the lead to 50-27.  The Bears responded with a pair of baskets, but Rodney had a pull-up jumper and punctuated the spurt with another 3 to put Monroe in command.

The Tribunes then continued to clamp down in the fourth. An active zone defense forced a number of low-percentage shots, and any time Harcum penetrated the paint, they were met by 6-foot-3 centers Jaynelle Robinson and Khady Sarr. Monroe held Harcum to 30 percent shooting on the game.

Sierra Green connected on three 3's in the final quarter as Monroe put up 21 more points to put a bow on the victory.

The first quarter started slowly, as both teams looked to shake off some rust after more than a week since their last games. Torrie Cash hit a pair of 3's and scored eight early points as Monroe led 16-11 after one quarter.

Six different players then scored in the second quarter, including 3's from Rodney, Cash, Erica Abitante, and Shalix Hines, as MCC took a 34-23 lead into the half.

Cash finished with 16 points and eight boards for MCC. Green scored 11, and Hines tallied seven points, six assists, and three steals.

MCC forced 23 Bear turnovers while only committing nine of their own.