Williams’ Double-Double Leads Cats To NJCAA Automatic Bid

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(Oxford, Georgia) – Georgia Northwestern sophomore forward Jessica Williams dropped in 16 points and cleaned the boards for 14 rebounds as she led her Lady Cats to their first ever NJCAA Region XVII Title Saturday, 64-50. It’s a championship which comes complete with a region crown and an automatic bid into the NJCAA National Tournament.

“We came into the game just hoping to be consistent and keep up what we were doing in our last game,” said Georgia Northwestern Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jim Williams. “We hadn’t played since Valentine’s Day. Eleven days down is an eternity at this level.” This is the college’s first year in the NJCAA.

NJCAA Region XVII player of the year Ashley West of Middle Georgia Tech was held to only three points in the first half. However, the Perry, Georgia native would catch fire in the second half piling up 15 more points in the final twenty minutes of play.  Fellow Lady Titan Bridget Gonder would lead all scorers with 20 points in the loss.

The pair of Lady Titan scorers would not be enough to keep things close as Georgia Northwestern would claim the title on the neutral Williams Gymnasium hardwood at Emory-Oxford College in Oxford, Georgia. The Lady Cats move on to a first-round game at the district level on March 3. The opponent and site were yet to be determined as of press time.

After the first stanza, it was a two-point game. Georgia Northwestern was clinging to a 26-24 lead at the intermission. Lady Cat sharpshooters found their rhythm in the second half as their outside shooters would connect on three-pointers at a 50-percent click (4-of-8) in the final twenty minutes. Georgia Northwestern would connect 38-percent (8-of-21) of their shots from beyond the arc throughout the game.

Lilburn, Georgia native Kenisha Watkins would lead the sniper attack for Georgia Northwestern as she would connect on four-of-seven from the three-point line in the title win. The freshman would join her other first-year gunner, Emily Cole (Adairsville), with 14 points a pop in the championship game.

“Kenisha’s (Watkins) last three from the corner was with a hand in her face, she dropped the shot, and got laid out with a foul, too,” said Williams. “I was very impressed with her and the rest of the team today. They handled the pressure so well.”

Georgia Northwestern’s coaching staff is already preparing for the next round. “We won’t know exactly how to prepare for next week until the opponent is determined,” said Lady Cats Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Robbie Nash. “The entire staff, Nanae (Consuelo Saxton), Emmanuel (Turner), Jim (Williams), and myself are really giving this our all. We are very proud.”

Georgia Northwestern’s men will play next week in the Men’s NJCAA Region XVII Tournament. It tips-off March 2 in Oxford, Georgia. The Bobcats will have a shot at the semi-finals of the region tournament if they can win a play-in game on Friday, March 2 versus Southern Crescent Tech. The Bobcats will have to win three region tournament games in less than three days to claim a national spot.

For more information on Bobcat Athletics at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706.764.3813 or e-mail to dfoley@gntc.edu.

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Lady Cats Box Score

Georgia Northwestern (64) – Daughtry DNP, Emily Cole 14, Morrow 9, Kenisha Watkins 14, Philpot 6, McGee 5, Jessica Williams 16.

Middle Georgia (50) – Brown 4, Ashley West 18, Dwight 2, Bridget Gonder 20, Randall 6.

Halftime: 26-24, Georgia Northwestern.