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ECCC tips off in NJCAA tourney

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
March 16, 2004
SALINA, Kan. Enough already.
Enough of the waiting, the bus riding, the hours of practicing.
East Central Community College's 10th-seeded Lady Warriors (29-2) take the court today at 2 p.m. in the Bicentennial Center when they put a 22-game win streak on the line in a first-round NJCAA Division I Women's National Championship game against the seventh-seeded Lady Raiders (26-5) of Three Rivers (Mo.) Community College.
The game can be heard locally on WZKR (103.3 FM).
The two have one common opponent this season Northeast Mississippi Community College. The Lady Warriors led by as many as 38 points in whipping Northeast 92-67 in the Region 23 Tournament at Clinton on March 3. Northeast defeated Three Rivers 96-87 on Feb. 12 at Booneville. Three Rivers led 47-40 at halftime before getting outscored 56-40 in the second half.
Top players for Three Rivers are 5-foot-6 sophomore guard Jessica Wilson (13.2 ppg), 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Ashley Williams (12.9 ppg), 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Bliss Roberson (12.6 ppg), 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Nicole Rivers (10.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg), 6-foot freshman center Emma Ledwaba (9.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg) from Cape Town, South Africa and 6-foot-3 sophomore center Victoria Richards (8.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg).
Leading the Lady Warriors are 6-foot-1 sophomore Lenore Gray (12.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg), 5-foot-4 freshman Kristin Chaney (10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 apg), 6-foot sophomore Kimyatta Viverette (8.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg), 5-foot-9 sophomore Rita Birden (9.8 rpg), 5-foot-9 freshman Kotreece Bender (7.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 5-foot-11 sophomore Monique Overstreet (4.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 5-foot-10 freshman India Backstrom (4.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg), and 5-foot-7 freshman Kim Cox (4.0 ppg).
Head coach Jack Childress is in his 11th year at Three Rivers with a 233-106 record over that span.
Three Rivers is ranked fifth in the NJCAA in free-throw percentage at 69.2 percent.
Two of the Lady Raiders' biggest wins this season have come against fifth-seeded Southeastern Illinois College. Three Rivers won 84-73 at Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Dec. 1 and whipped the Lady Falcons 82-57 at Harrisburg, Ill., on Feb. 23.
The Lady Raiders' other losses have come to Coffeyville (Kan.), which finished 22-10, Chipola (Fla.), Moberly, and Crowder.
East Central hasn't lost since falling at Pearl River on December 4. The Lady Warriors defeated Copiah-Lincoln 52-45 for the Region 23 crown on March 4. The Lady Warriors are ranked 19th in the NJCAA in points allowed, giving up 60.64 per outing. ECCC averages 73.4 points.