Monroe plays 'D' for District title
Mustangs nab eleventh straight nationals berth
By Gary Axelbank
BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 10- For the Monroe Mustangs women's basketball team, it starts with their defense. And they used that defense to finish off two District opponents this weekend in Franklin MA to take the District N Championship and earn themselves a remarkable 11th consecutive trip to an NJCAA National Tournament. On Saturday, Monroe downed Manor College (NY) 78-50 and on Sunday, they took care of Essex (NJ) 76-57 to win their fourth District championship in the last five years.
"We are peaking at just the right time," said head coach James Robinson Jr. "Our defense keys everything else and right now we are committed to the energy that it takes to play good defense. I also have to say that every player on this team knows they're important and so on any given night, any give player can be key. This is a great way to get set for a national tournament."
In the win over Manor on Saturday, 11 of the 12 mustangs who got in the game got on the board. Aaliyah Mercer had 16 points and Tiashana Morris had 10. Tiara Brown also had 10 and she added 10 rebounds for a nifty double/double.
The finals win on Sunday was ignited by a dominant first half by Breana Bey who finished with 25 points, 21 of them coming in the first half as she displayed an awesome inside game. She shot 11/13 from the field. Eli Rojas was a virtual force for Monroe pulling down seventeen rebounds to go along with her ten points. Mercer had 11 points and Brown had 12.
Aaliyah Mercer was named Player of the Year in Region XV and after the game Coach Robinson took home the District Coach of the Year award. Monroe is now 22-10 on the season.
The NJCAA Women's Division II National Championships will be held at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS from March 18-22. Monroe has won four of the 10 previous national tournaments.