Welcome to the Elite 8.
They may be the No. 20 seed, but the Lady Cards sure didn't play like it Wednesday afternoon in a 78-69 win against fourth-seeded Jones County. It was one of their most complete-game performances of the season.
The win moves them into the regional quarterfinal action today at the beautiful Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University. The Lady Cards (29-5) are scheduled to take on No. 12 Walters State (30-5), which pulled off its own upset in the second round, claiming a 57-54 against Cochise, the tournament's No. 5 seed.
Here is today's schedule of quarterfinal action:
1 p.m. – Shelton State (1) vs. New Mexico (8)
3 p.m. – Gulf Coast (2) vs. Seward County (7)
5 p.m. – Walters State (12) vs. TVCC (20)
7 p.m. – Tallahassee (11) vs. Northwest Florida State (14)
The winners advance to the semifinals Friday:
5 p.m. – Shelton State-New Mexico winner vs. Walters State-TVCC winner
7 p.m. – Gulf Coast-Seward County winner vs. Tallahassee-Northwest Florida State winner
The championship game is scheduled Saturday at 7 p.m. after the third-place game at 5 p.m.
The Lady Cards turned in a tremendous defensive effort against an impressive and athletic Jones County team. They held the Lady Bobcats scoreless the final 5:09 after battling from a six-point deficit to tie the score at 69-69.
The defensive effort was well-rounded, but it was led by 5-4 freshman Tra'dayja Smith, who was assigned the task of defending sensational Jones County guard Alexis Toefree, who had scored 50 points in the Region 23 title game.
Next time you see Smith, ask her what flavor gum Toefree was chewing. She seemingly stayed that close to her for the game – the entire game.
Michal Miller topped the Lady Card scoring with 20 points. Tyasia Moore had a second straight 16-point performance, followed by Arleighshya McElroy and Mercedes Brooks with 13 each. Brooks had three three-pointers.
A Lady Card win today would move them into the Final Four for an eighth straight year. It was also mean the 20th 30-win season in the 43-year history of the program.
The Lady Cards and Walters State have played three times in the national tournament with the Lady Cards having won all three: 67-61 in 2015, 70-53 in 2010 and 97-46 in 1999.
Today's game will the Lady Cards' 88th in 23 national tournament appearances. They own a 68-19 record.
Remember, you can watch the game online at www.njcaatv.com. A $4.99 single-game subscription fee is required.
It's 51 in Lubbock this morning. It's forecast to be mostly sunny today with a high of 84.
Go Lady Cards!!!