Lady Cardinals get top seed


ATHENS — Trinity Valley Community College, fresh off the Region XIV Women’s Basketball Tournament championship, is seeded No. 1 for the NJCAA National Tournament, officials at the NJCAA national headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., announced on Thursday.

The Lady Cardinals (32-0) will face No. 16 seed Malcolm X (Ill.) (16-15) in an opening round game at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kan.

TVCC, which is ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA’s final poll, are led by two All-Americans — Sha’Kayla Caples, a 5-10 sophomore guard from Vicksburg, Miss.; and Keuna Flax, a 5-11 sophomore forward from Fort Worth.

After finishing second last year, Flax, a transfer from Oklahoma State, said the top spot is their goal.

“We have several sophomores that were on the team last year and it was not fun finishing second,” Flax said of the Lady Cardinals placing runner-up to North Idaho College in 2011. “Our goal all season was return to Kansas and to win the national championship.”

The No. 2 seed is Hutchinson (Kan.), which is also unbeaten at 33-0.

Also, a special ceremony to honor Kurt Budke will take place at 6:40 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

Budke, who led TVCC to four national championships and later coached at Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State, was killed in a plane crash on Nov. 17 west of Little Rock, Ark. He was on a recruiting trip with assistant coach Miranda Serna, who also played at Trinity Valley. Serna, pilot Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula, also perished in the crash.

Budke was a native of Salina. The court is scheduled to be named in his honor. The Budke family is expected to be in attendance. The ceremony will take place between the third-place game and championship game.

NOTES — Salina is hosting the tournament for the 15th consecutive season. The central Kansas city has the tournament through at least 2015. It’s in the 37th season for the NJCAA to conduct a women’s national championship. The tournament was previously in Tyler from 1989 through 1997. This is TVCC’s 17th trip to the national tournament. The Athens school has won five titles — 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004. … This is the fourth time TVCC has qualified for the national tournament with an unbeaten record — 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2012. … Trinity Valley has finished runner-up three times — 1995, 1998 and 2011. The previous two times the Lady Cardinals finished second they won the national title the next season.


2012 NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Championship

Bicentennial Center, Salina, Kan.

March 20-24

Tuesday’s Games

Game 1: No. 3 Central Arizona College (29-1) vs. No. 14 Southwestern Illinois College (27-6), 10 a.m.

Game 2: No. 6 New Mexico Junior College (29-4) vs. No. 11 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (22-9), noon

Game 3: No. 7 Otero (Colo.) Junior College (31-1) vs. No. 10 Walters State (Tenn.) Community College (27-2), 2 p.m.

Game 4: No. 2 Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (33-0) vs. No. 15 Meridian (Miss.) Community College (22-10), 6:30 p.m.

Game 5: No. 1 Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College (32-0) vs. No. 16 Malcolm X (Ill.) College (16-15), 4 p.m.

Game 6: No. 8 Snow (Utah) College (20-12) vs. No. 9 Shelton (Ala.) Community College (32-2), 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s Games

Game 7: No. 5 Jefferson (Mo.) College (28-4) vs. No. 12 Georgia Perimeter College (22-9), noon

Game 8: No. 4 Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College (26-4) vs. No. 13 Monroe (N.Y) Community College (25-4), 2 p.m.

Game 9: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 4 p.m.

Game 10: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.

Game 11: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 8 p.m.

Thursday’s Games

Game 12: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 10 a.m.

Game 13: Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6, noon

Game 14: Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 2 p.m.

Game 15: Loser Game 10 vs. Loser Game 11, 4 p.m.

Game 16: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 6 p.m.

Game 17: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 8 p.m.

Friday’s Games

Game 18: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 12, noon

Game 19: Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14, 2 p.m.

Game 20: Loser Game 16 vs. Loser Game 17, 4 p.m.

Game 21: Semifinals, Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11, 6 p.m.

Game 22: Semifinals, Winner Game 16 vs. Winner Game 17, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Game 23: Seventh-Place, Winner Game 18 vs. Winner Game 19, 1 p.m.

Game 24: Fifth-Place, Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 20, 3 p.m.

Game 25: Third-Place, Loser Game 21 vs. Loser Game 22, 5 p.m.

Game 26: Championship, Winner Game 21 vs. Winner Game 22, 7 p.m.

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