The 23rd-ranked Blinn College women’s basketball team’s “the best offense is a good defense” approach continued to pay dividends Saturday as the Buccaneers stifled Paris Junior College en route to a 59-45 victory at the Kruse Center in Brenham, Texas.
“A strong defensive team is what we are right now,” Blinn head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “We’ve struggled to score a bit, but our defense keeps us in games and helps us make enough plays to win.”
The low-scoring Region XIV contest was right up the Bucs’ alley, as the team with 14 freshman continues to iron out its offensively wrinkles. Though Blinn is averaging just 61 points per game, it is allowing 56, which has helped pave the way for an 11-4 record and a 2-0 region mark.
(Pictured: Blinn sophomore guard Tianna Mathis scores on a layup against Paris Junior College on Jan. 13, 2024)
“We’re going to need to start taking better care of the ball, taking better shots, and making open shots when we get them if we’re going to pull away from teams late in games and beat the best teams in our region,” Jenkins added. “With that said, we’re competing and playing hard, and I’m proud of our competitiveness.”
The Bucs and Dragons played to an 11-11 tie through the first period of play, and it wasn’t until the latter portion of the second quarter that Blinn would find some breathing room.
Ater Paris took a brief lead with a free throw to open the second-quarter scoring, freshman forward Tocarra Johnson ignited a 13-6 burst with a layup through contact. Paris answered with a bucket to take its final lead of the game before Blinn freshman guard Wynter Jones sank a layup to push the hosts ahead for good. Freshman guard Elizabeth Walton followed with a 3-pointer and freshman guard Chelsy Singleton added a layup to make it a 20-14 lead.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Jackson buried a layup just before halftime to send the Bucs into the break with a 24-18 cushion.
Blinn opened the second half with a 7-0 push, with a mid-run layup from sophomore guard Tianna Mathis giving her team its first double-digit advantage (28-18) with 8:48 to go in the third period.
“We started slow, but our defense helped us get going offensively,” Mathis said. “Our defense gives us more opportunities to overcome some of our struggles shooting the ball. We just need to keep working on our offense in practice and bring it up to the level of our defense.”
After a 3-pointer from freshman guard Jonesha Neal increased Blinn’s cushion to 40-22 in the third period, Paris sank back-to-back 3s to get back into the game. In the fourth quarter, the Dragons trailed 44-33 to start but pulled within 45-39 just minutes into the period. A Mathis free throw got the Bucs going again, and a Walton triple and a jumper from Jones allowed Blinn to regain a 10-point lead (51-41) and hold on for the win.
Mathis paced the Bucs with 14 points, while Singleton and Walton added 11 apiece.
Next up for Blinn is a region clash with Tyler Junior College at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Kruse Center.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 45 NJCAA national championships since 1987.