March 4, 2019 / Lady 'Blazers head into postseason play
VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University women’s basketball team heads into the NJCAA Division I District P Tournament as the No. 2 seed.
The tournament starts March 5 and runs through March 8. VU takes a 21-7 overall record into its first-round game against No. 7 seed Southwestern Illinois inside the P.E. Complex at 7 p.m. EST.
First-round contests will be played on the court of the higher seed. The semifinals and championship game will be played at Rend Lake College in Ina, Illinois.
The Lady ‘Blazers defeated Southwestern Illinois twice in the regular season. They won 72-52 on Jan. 16 and 84-43 on Feb. 23.
The tournament seeds are: No. 1 Wabash Valley, No. 2 VU, No. 3 Southeastern Illinois, No. 4 Lincoln Trail, No. 5 Olney Central, No. 6 John A. Logan, No. 7 Southwestern Illinois, and No. 8 Rend Lake.
The Lady ‘Blazers are in the midst of their sixth consecutive 20-win season. They produced a perfect 8-0 record in February and are 8-1 in their last nine games.
“The second half of the season we showed a great deal of growth,” VU Women’s Basketball Coach Harry Meeks said. “We became more consistent. Our defense got better.
“We’re starting to play together better and that’s what we’re going to have to have. We’re going to have to play together as a team. I thought we did that in the second half against Wabash Valley (on Friday) and that was a good sign.”
The Lady ‘Blazers have defeated every team in the District P tourney field with the exception of unbeaten Wabash Valley, which beat VU twice in the regular season including an 81-70 win on Friday. VU outscored Wabash Valley, the No. 1 team in the NJCAA Division I national poll, 42-32 in the second half.
If VU beats Southwestern Illinois, it advances to a semifinal on March 7 against Southeastern Illinois or John A. Logan at 8 p.m. EST. The Lady Blazers swept John A. Logan in the regular season with a 78-51 win on Nov. 14 and 86-66 victory on Jan 26. VU split a pair of regular-season games with Southeastern Illinois, winning 69-67 on Nov. 20. Southeastern edged VU 72-71 on Jan. 30.
“The strength of our team is our defense,” Meeks said. “Our strength has been in our rebounding. I think we have done an exceptional job in rebounding and our statistics show that. Rebounding and defense go hand in hand. Execution of our defensive philosophy has been pretty good and has been getting better and better.”
As a team, VU is averaging 40.9 rebounds per game. Freshman Fess Hawkins is averaging a team-high 9.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore Ivanda Hudjakova is averaging 8 rebounds. Freshman Reeva Hammelman is averaging 3.2 rpg. Freshman Jhala Henry follows with 3.1 per game. Next are redshirt freshman Jaynice Stovall (2.9 rpg) and freshman Arial Watts (2.7 rpg).
Stovall ranks second in NJCAA Division I in steals with 4.2 per game. VU ranks eighth in steals with 16.4 per game.
When it comes to scoring, Meeks wants a more consistent effort throughout games.
The Lady ‘Blazers have three scorers who are averaging double figures. Hawkins leads with 13.2 points per game. Stovall is averaging 12.8. Henry is next with 11 ppg.
Hammelman’s average is 9.2 ppg. Hudjakova is averaging 9.0 ppg.
“The overall thing we have to do better is be more consistent with our shooting,” Meeks said. “At various times, we have had a difficult time scoring. We’re going to have to score better and not necessarily score a huge number of points, but be more consistent across the game.”
VU made it all the way to the championship game of last year’s District P Championship Tournament.
The 2019 District P championship game is March 8 at 6 p.m. EST. The winner earns a bid to the NJCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship national tournament March 18-23 in Lubbock, Texas.
2019 NJCAA Division I District P Tournament schedule
(All times EST)
First round, March 5
(First-round games played at higher seed)
No. 1 Wabash Valley vs. No. 8 Rend Lake, 6:30 p.m.
No. 4 Lincoln Trail vs. No. 5 Olney Central, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Vincennes vs. No. 7 Southwestern Illinois at P.E. Complex, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Southeastern Illinois vs. John A. Logan, 6:30 p.m.
Semifinals, March 7
Championship, March 8
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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAVIS DAVID, Assistant Sports Information Director
812-888-6831 office, email@example.com
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom