On a team known for its pair of all-conference forwards, it could come down to guard play to determine the fate of the Chandler-Gilbert Community College women’s basketball team in this week’s NJCAA Division II national championships.
In post players Nikita Gordon and Sarah Hays, the Coyotes (24-8) have a duo who combine for 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per contest. But coach Cassandra Yancy is counting on the recently improved play of her backcourt to help shoulder the load.
“The last three or four games they’ve really put it together and I’m expecting a lot from them,” Yancy said.
Fourth-seeded Chandler-Gilbert begins its run at a national title at 4 p.m. Thursday at Phoenix College. It will face off against the winner of Mott Community College (Mich.) and No. 5 seed Kankakee Community College (Ill.), which play today at 2 p.m.
The Coyotes will need to win three games in three days to take home the championship.
“This team is definitely talented, but they’re hungry and they’re eager, too,” Yancy said. “Our goal is to win it all, but we still have to take it one game at a time.”
The tournament’s top seed is Illinois Central College, followed by No. 2 Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) and No. 3 Carl Sandburg College (Ill.).
The top four seeds earned first-round byes.
NJCAA Division II women’s championship
What: Junior college basketball When: Today through Saturday
Where: Phoenix College Today’s schedule: Noon — Prince George’s Community College, Md. (24-2) vs. No. 8 Bismarck State College, N.D. (24-10); 2 p.m. — Mott Community College, Mich. (26-7) vs. No. 5 Kankakee Community College, Ill. (25-6); 5 p.m. — Community College of Rhode Island (14-11) vs. No. 6 Johnson County Community College, Kan. (21-11); 7 p.m. — Mercyhurst North East, Penn. (22-7) vs. No. 7 Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Mich. (25-7)
Chandler-Gilbert CC: The Coyotes open vs. Kankakee Community College at 4 p.m. Thursday.