Harrison, AR - The Mesa Thunderbirds couldn't overcome a poor shooting performance in the first round of the NJCAA National Tournament against Essex County Wednesday morning as the T-Birds fall, 69-66.
The T-Birds shot just 11-31 (35%) from the field in the first half, connecting on only two of eight three-pointers. It didn't help any that Essex County shooting guard Kimberely Richburg accounted for the Wolverines 17 of 36 first half points, all while the Wolverines connected on eight first half three-pointers.
Allies Fuller led Mesa scorers through the first 20 minutes, with nine points while Sham Troupe, Tori Lloyd and Anessa Glenn each scored five points each. The T-Birds however trailed at the half, 36-29.
Mesa did land the first few punches in the second half, going to Fuller in the post, where she collected six quick points to help Mesa cut the Wolverine lead to just one. The T-Birds eventually took their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter and had a five point advantage with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Wolverines continued to attack the basket and for the last seven minutes of play, the lead exchanged hands 10 times.
The rythym and flow of the game was altered near the end of the game as the officials insisted on checking with replay review for certain calls. It came to a point where players were asking for replay reviews in hopes to change the original call on the court.
In the end though, Mesa drops their first round game.
Fuller finished with 20 points and six rebounds while Anessa Glenn had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Mesa will play Thursday at 2 pm CT, Noon AZ Time, against the loser of Kanikakee and Chesapeake.