(Peoria, IL) — The Monroe Mustangs women’s basketball team added another chapter to their storied history on Friday night with a 74-69 defeat of Louisburg (NC) in the NJCAA Division II Women’s National Semifinal to earn a berth in the finals against Lake Michigan on Saturday night. This will be the defending national champions fourth finals appearance since 2005. They’ve won three of them. In the semifinal, Monroe had four players in double figures and Verdine Warner had a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds. in a tournament filled with upsets, it’s only fitting that the ninth- seeded Mustangs will play the seventh-seeded Indians to decide the National Champion. The game will begin at 7:30pm (8:30pm, NY time) and a link to the live webcast can be found here. Box Score
“There are a lot of things working well for us right now,” said Coach James Robinson Jr. “For one, we’re playing like a team so that if a shot is missed a teammate gets the rebound or if a coverage is blown there’s a defensive switch to pick it up. But most importantly, we believe if we do what we are capable of doing, then we think we can’t be beaten and we’re going to try and turn that confidence into a national championship… again.”
Along with Warner, Monroe’s Jasmine McRoy has been stellar in the tournament. In the semifinal she had 16 points on 6/11 shooting to go with her seven rebounds. Aivah Parham who, remarkably, is the only returning player from last year’s national championship team, had another great all around game of leadership with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Kashay Barnes had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The game was fiercely competitive as it featured 13 lead changes (11 in the first half). Monroe was down by five points with seven minutes left in the game, but a Kashay Barnes three-pointer gave the Mustangs a lead they would not relinquish. Monroe had a significant rebounding edge over Louisburg 59-48. Monroe is now 30-6 on the season.(