Gulf Coast clamps down on D for win

Gulf Coast clamps down on D for win

ELLISVILLE — A dominant second-half defensive performance paved the way for Mississippi Gulf Coast to trounce Northeast Mississippi 64-45 in the first round of the MACJC Tournament on Monday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (14-8), playing in its first postseason since 2013, exploded for a 17-0 run in the third quarter, then held the Lady Tigers (15-8) without a fourth-quarter field goal.

"Everybody realized it wasn't our time to go home," sophomore guard Shelli Thigpen said. "Everybody bought into the game plan. We all started believing and it kicked in."

With the win, Gulf Coast advanced to a 5:30 p.m. Wednesday semifinal against No. 4 Jones. The game will be streamed at http://jcjc.tv, and live stats will be available at https://nwccrangers.com/sidearmstats/wbball/summary.

The Lady Bulldogs also clinched a berth in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament in Clinton next week.

Thigpen (So., Wylie, Texas/Wylie) led Gulf Coast with 19 points and four assists. She also had two steals. Breannah McCullah (So., Edwards/Raymond) had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while picking up four steals.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason was also in 2013. Northeast won an overtime game in the first round of the MACJC Tournament before Gulf Coast avenged the loss in overtime of the first round of the Region 23 Tourney.

Gulf Coast turned the ball over repeatedly in the first quarter, but rallied from eight down to trail just 14-11 despite 11 turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs tied it at 32 on McCullah's long-range bomb just ahead of the halftime buzzer.

"Coach got on us and got us coached up," she said. "After the first quarter, we were a little bit worried, but we knew we were going to stick together. It was all about the intensity of defense."

The defense clamped down coming out of the locker room, and a shift to a 1-3-1 zone provided dividends. Gulf Coast held Northeast scoreless over a 5:30 span and shot 8-for-11 from the field on a 17-0 run to go up 51-36.

The Lady Bulldogs have certainly come a long way in a season. Last year, they finished 6-17 overall, and 0-16 in the South.

"It's wonderful," Thigpen said. "Last year, we didn't even win a game. It's a huge step. I believe in my teammates. I believe we can go places."

The fourth quarter put an exclamation mark on the evening, as Northeast managed only three made free throws down the stretch. The Lady Tigers made only one of their last 25 shots from the field.

"That means our defensive intensity is turned up," Adams said. "We're headed to the semifinals, and we're gonna prepare for Jones."

2019 MACJC Tournament Schedule

Ellisville

Monday

Game 1: N1. Itawamba 81, S4. Pearl River 63

Game 2: S2. Copiah-Lincoln 65, N3. East Mississippi 47

Game 3: S1. Jones 88, N4. Mississippi Delta 53

Game 4: S3. Gulf Coast 64, N2. Northeast 45

Wednesday

Game 5: Itawamba (20-3) vs. Copiah-Lincoln (19-5), 1 p.m.

Game 6: Jones (22-2) vs. Gulf Coast (14-8), 5:30 p.m.

Thursday

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 5:30 p.m.

For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.

Lady Bulldogs need 1 more win
February 20, 2019 Lady Bulldogs need 1 more win
Lady Bulldogs lose to JC
February 18, 2019 Lady Bulldogs lose to JC
MGCCC faces must-win at PRCC
February 13, 2019 MGCCC faces must-win at PRCC
Lady Bulldogs stifle Meridian
February 11, 2019 Lady Bulldogs stifle Meridian
Lady Bulldogs move into 2nd
February 7, 2019 Lady Bulldogs move into 2nd
Lady Bulldogs face Co-Lin
February 3, 2019 Lady Bulldogs face Co-Lin
Lady Bulldogs wait for PRCC
January 22, 2019 Lady Bulldogs wait for PRCC
Lady Bulldogs lose to PRCC
January 22, 2019 Lady Bulldogs lose to PRCC
Lady Bulldogs head to Summit
January 13, 2019 Lady Bulldogs head to Summit
Lady Bulldogs close out 2018
December 4, 2018 Lady Bulldogs close out 2018
Lady Bulldogs fall at Delgado
November 29, 2018 Lady Bulldogs fall at Delgado
Lady Bulldogs back in action
November 28, 2018 Lady Bulldogs back in action
Gulf Coast falls to Delta
November 8, 2018 Gulf Coast falls to Delta