In a battle of top-five seeds, fourth-seeded College of Southern Idaho pulled away from the fifth-seeded Buccaneers for a 79-64 victory in the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Blinn finished its season with a 31-4 record after reaching the quarterfinals of the national tournament for the third time. The Buccaneers’ run in the tournament included a first-round bye and a second-round triumph over North Dakota State College of Science, a victory that also delivered head coach Jeff Jenkins his 500th career win.
On Saturday, however, Blinn took on a tough, tournament-tested CSI team and came up short of its first-ever semifinal berth.
“I was telling people before this game that I thought us and CSI were pretty similar in style of play,” Jenkins said. “I thought it would come down to who shot the ball better, and across the board CSI did. This year, our team has made shots in a lot of games, it was just one of those nights.”
Trailing just 51-48 heading into the fourth-quarter, the ballgame was ultimately decided by a Golden Eagles offensive outburst. CSI outscored Blinn 28-16 during the final 10 minutes of play and took control for good with an 11-5 run that made it 71-59 midway through the period.
The Golden Eagles led 19-14 after the first quarter and 36-32 heading into halftime.
(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore guard Hannah Humphrey, 22, shoots a 3-pointer against College of Southern Idaho on March 25)
Leading the way offensively for the Bucs were sophomore guard Hannah Humphrey (14) points, sophomore forward Tiffany Tullis (12), and sophomore guard Jakoriah Long (11). Sophomore guard Makayla Patterson added nine points. Tullis also pulled down 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the tournament.
The tough setback did little to overshadow the two years of success Blinn’s sophomores helped deliver to the program. Since the fall of 2021, Humphrey, Tullis, Long, Patterson, and guards Allana Thompson, Skylar Barnes, and Crystal Smith produced 59 victories, two Region XIV co-championships – including the first in program history, a Region XIV Tournament title, and two national tournament appearances. The group also achieved the program’s best regular-season ranking this year at No. 2 overall in the country. They finished the season ranked third.
(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore forward Tiffany Tullis, 1, battles for a layup during a game against College of Southern Idaho on March 25)
“The sad part is that every season comes to an end,” Jenkins said. “I told these kids that you don’t get the chance to go to the national tournament very often, and I definitely don’t take what they’ve done for granted. To get here two years in a row … I’m 50 years old … this may not happen again. I love these kids and I thank them for a special season.”
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.