BRCC women ride strong finish into Region 23 tournament

The Baton Rouge Community College women’s basketball team ended its regular season in about the most exciting way possible, stealing the Miss-Lou Conference crown from Meridian Community College with a 96-89 overtime win Saturday.

Riding high off their league title, the Lady Bears will look to carry that momentum into their Region 23 Tournament opener Thursday afternoon against Jones County Community College.

The game is set for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss.

“I think our confidence level is pretty much blowing out of the roof just because (Meridian) was a big game for us and it made a big statement,” BRCC coach Paula Lee said. “It took a team effort. That’s one thing I like about this team right now. It’s not just a one-woman story. Everybody is contributing in their own way when they get the minutes that they get.”

BRCC (20-8) will need that to continue as it enters the eight-team tournament as the No. 7 seed, facing No. 4-seeded Jones (12-10).

Lee said the team was able to compile some game film of Jones and noted two standout players for the Lady Bobcats: freshman center Caitlyn Spane and fellow freshman Kaylan Hughes. Lee credited Spane, a 6-feet-1 Mississippi native, for her all-around game and knows it will take a team effort to limit her production.

“She’s real athletic and probably their all-around player,” Lee said. “She can play inside and outside. We’re going to have to do a good job of keeping her off the boards and defending her entire game.”

Lee said the same of Hughes, a 5-10 forward, complimenting her skills both in the post and on the perimeter.

Lee said Jones’ size jumps out at her, which leads the coaches to thinking BRCC’s fast-paced style of play will give the Lady Bears an advantage.

“I think our speed and quickness will definitely play a factor,” Lee said. “If we’re able to set the tone defensively, we’re going to continue to push the ball and play up-tempo. And I think our press, whether man or zone, will hurt them a great deal.”

BRCC has had four days of preparation, and Lee said the coaching staff has continued to emphasize the same thing coming off of the win in the season finale: fundamentals.

Lee feels that if they execute and play fundamental basketball, the underdog role tied to Lady Bears entering the tournament will disappear.

“Our goal is just to take it one game at a time,” Lee said. “If we take it one game at a time and just handle our business, I think we’ll still be around come Saturday.”