LUFKIN - The Apache Ladies did not hit a bucket in the first quarter and just could never catch up on Friday.
Tyler Junior College, the No. 3 seed, fell to No. 2 Blinn College, 60-52, in the Region XIV Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals at Shands Gymnasium on the Angelina College campus.
Blinn (24-8), ranked No. 22 in the nation, advances to the championship game to meet No. 4 San Jacinto (22-10), who upset No. 1 seed Trinity Valley Community College, 57-52, earlier Friday.
The title game is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Shands Gym.
TJC (24-8) fell behind 10-0 and Ann Nwosah scored the Apache Ladies' first point, a free throw, with 6:01 on the clock in the first quarter. It took the team 10:22 to score their first basket, an inside shot by Nwosah.
After that drought, the Apache Ladies got within 31-29 at halftime on back-to-back 3-pointers by Nautica Grant.
The Apache Ladies were within two in the fourth quarter, but Blinn would not let Tyler take the lead.
The Lady Buccaneers had three players score in double figures, led by Ebony Parker's 19 points.
"We could never turn the corner," said TJC coach Trenia Tillis-Jones, whose team was ranked No. 20 in the nation entering the tournament. "We needed some players to step up today and they didn't.
"Blinn had a sophomore-laden team and they knew what to do at showtime. We are a very young team and hopefully our kids will learn what to do next year when they are sophomores."
Lakendra Bassett led TJC with 15 points with Nwosah (13 points) and Grant (11) right behind her.
Normally high-scoring Sky'lynn Holmes was held to 7 points while Taudenciah Oluoch did not score.
Nwosah led TJC with 10 rebounds. Holmes and Autumn Avina had three steals each.
Now, TJC must wait to see if the squad will receive an at-large bid to nationals for the third straight season.
However, Tillis-Jones doesn't expect to get the phone call.
"There were too many upsets," Tillis-Jones said. "I just think it's not meant for us this year."
After collecting 70 rebounds against Bossier Parish on Wednesday, the Apache Ladies were out-rebounded by the Lady Bucs 43-38.
Penina Faumui led Blinn with 13 boards.
The winner of the Blinn-San Jac game receives an automatic bid, while TVCC, No. 4 nationally ranked, is expected to get an at-large bid.
Region XIV Women's Tournament
No. 2 Blinn 60, No. 3 Tyler 52
Tyler 6 23 10 13 - 52
Blinn 18 13 13 16 - 60
TYLER-Lakendra Bassett, 15; Taudenciah Oluoch, 0; Princess Cole, 2; Sky'lynn Holmes, 7; Jasmine Williams, 0; Nautica Grant, 11; Autumn Avina, 2; To'Lishia Weasah, 0; Erin Smith, 0; Antionette Shrepee, 2; Ann Nwosah, 13.
BLINN-Jelisah Preston, 13; Ebony Parker, 19; Abigail Whyte, 0; Ekiya Gray, 12; Penina Faumui, 6; Bryanna Taylor, 3; Jasline Chandler, 2; Rosemary Ilang, 0; Denisha Ford, 5.
THREE POINT GOALS-TJC: Bassett (2), Grant (2), (Team 4 of 16). BC: Parker (3), Taylor, (Team 4 of 19).
FREE THROWS - TJC 18 of 27. BC 8 of 19.
REBOUNDS - TJC 38 (Nwosah, 10). BC 43 (Faumui, 13).
RECORDS-Tyler 24-8, Blinn 24-8.
NEXT UP-Blinn vs. San Jacinto, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Angelina College.