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VU Women's Basketball turns away Lincoln Trail, 76-59, in Trailblazers' 1st game of NJCAA District P/Region 24 Tournament

INA, Ill. - Sophomore Nicole Dodd led the way in the first half scoring column and sophomore Tasia Brewer and freshman Jeanier Olukemi picked up the scoring load in the second half Tuesday night as the Vincennes University Women's Basketball Team topped Lincoln Trail College by a 76-59 score in the Trailblazers' first game of the NJCAA District P Tournament at Rend Lake College in Ina, IL. The victory moved No. 2 seed VU into the tournament's semifinal round to face third-seeded Kaskaskia at 3 p.m. (EST) Thursday. No. 1 seed Wabash Valley and fifth-seeded Olney Central will square off in the other semifinal contest at 1 p.m. (EST) Thursday.

In VU's win Tuesday, Dodd drilled five 3-pointers in the first half on the way to 17 of her 21 points. After intermission, when the Trailblazers (28-3) held a 35-30 lead, Brewer scored 16 of her 21 points and Olukemi got 13 of her 17 to help VU stay in front. Sophomore Anais Kirvan had 10 of her 13 rebounds and five of her eight points in the second 20 minutes.

Despite freshman starting point guard Brooke Dossett and Kirvan both having three fouls and sitting out a portion of the early minutes of the second half, the Trailblazers managed to stretch their lead to 10 points at 45-35 near the 15:00 mark. But Lincoln Trail went on a run and a Statesman offensive rebound off a missed free throw resulted in LTC's Blayr Polston draining a trey to pull the Statesmen within four at 47-43. However, Brewer answered with two free throws and, after a Lincoln Trail miss, she buried a 3-pointer of her own to stake VU to a 52-43 advantage.

Dossett and Kirvan returned to the game and a Kirvan offensive board led to a Brewer bucket that helped fend off another LTC threat and made the score 54-45. Dodd then canned a pair from the stripe to get the lead back to double digits at 56-45.

VU was up by 13 with 8:15 to play when Polston hit another trey and Lincoln Trail called timeout. After the timeout, Brewer hit yet another 3-pointer and picked up a loose ball on the ensuing Statesman possession. Kirvan eventually hit a jumper and put the Trailblazers up 63-48. A short time later, VU appeared to take full command. Near the 4:00 mark, VU was up 67-50 when the Statesmen turned the ball over on a five-second closely-guarded call and Dossett cashed in on the LTC turnover by hitting a 3-pointer that produced the largest VU lead at 70-50.

But the conclusion wasn't in stone until Brewer's final bucket of the night ended a 9-1 Statesmen run. Then, after a LTC missed field goal attempt, Dossett found Olukemi for a layup as she was fouled. Olukemi hit the free throw for the conventional 3-point play and a 76-59 lead with less than a minute to play.

The halftime lead to build on was thanks in large part to Dodd's accuracy in the first 20 minutes. She hit 6-of-7 shots, including 5-of-6 3-pointers in the first half.

If VU is victorious against Kaskaskia on Thursday, it will move into Friday's 6 p.m. (EST) championship game. The district tournament winner will qualify for the NJCAA Div. I Women's Basketball National Championship Tournament in Salina, KS.

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The Vincennes University Athletic Department hosts Play4Kay and raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund annually. VU Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks has a special connection to the late Yow, who was the longtime coach at North Carolina State. He had the pleasure of meeting her while he was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University. This left a lasting impression on him and made this cause important to him and the Trailblazers.

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