MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — The 17th ranked Walters State Lady Senators clinched a share of their eighth straight Tennessee Community College Athletic Association regular season championship and 12th in the last 13 seasons by rolling to a 69-37 victory over Volunteer State Friday night inside 'Z' Buda Gymnasium.
The Lady Senators picked up their 158th win in the last 159 TCCAA games but had to work for it, as the Lady Pioneers kept it close until a late run in the second quarter and a 14-0 run in the second period helped WSCC put the game away.
With the win, the Lady Senators also reached the 20-win mark for the 24th straight year, as they are now 20-4 on the season and 12-0 in TCCAA play.
The loss dropped Volunteer State to 8-11 overall and 4-8 in region action.
The game went back and forth early with three lead changes, but it was back-to-back buckets from Derrinesha Jackson that put the Lady Senators ahead 7-4, and they never trailed again.
Zacharyia Esmon and Diamond Forrest both added 15-foot jumpers for Walters State, and a late 6-0 run in the period, including four points from Esmon, allowed the Lady Senators to take a 17-9 lead after one.
The Lady Pioneers scored the first three points of the second period and eventually cut the margin to 20-17 on a basket by Tatiyana Lavender, but the lady Senators responded with a bucket from Forrest and late baskets by Jamya Rogers, Hannah Jones, Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu and a triple from Brianna Dixon to take a 31-20 halftime lead.
Vol State scored the first bucket of the second half, but Forrest and Mendjiadeu took over and combined for nine points in a 14-0 run that gave the Lady Senators a 45-22 lead when Alexi Trice knocked down a triple. Trice hit another trey in the final minute of the frame, making it a 50-28 lead going to the fourth.
Esmon drained a 3-pointer and Jalayah Manning scored on a layup to open the scoring in the final period, and the lead reached 32 twice, including the final margin.
The Lady Senators shot 44.1 percent (30 of 68) from the field in the win, making just 4 of 23 from long range and 5 of 7 from the charity stripe. WSCC held a 47-26 margin on the glass, including 18 offensive rebounds, while recording eight blocked shots, led by Forrest with four.
Mendjiadeu notched 13 points and nine rebounds in the victory, while Esmon and Forrest both added 11 points with Esmon adding eight boards. Dixon had a solid night as well, putting together a worksheet of seven points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Vol State shot just 24.1 percent (13 of 53) from the floor in the contest, making only 2 of 16 from long range and 9 of 18 at the foul line. Xavia Williams led the Lady Pioneers with 11 points in the loss.
The Lady Senators will look to clinch the TCCAA regular season title outright on Saturday when they welcome Motlow State (16-9, 8-4 TCCAA) to town for a 2 p.m. showdown between the top two teams in the league.