Champs! Eastern Arizona College Women’s Basketball wins NJCAA Region 1 Championship; advances to national tournament

EAC Photo: The EAC’s women’s basketball team are the Region 1 Champs. Pictured are, back row, from left, coach Cameron Turner, Nadira Eltayeb, Emily Dogbatse, Imani Harris, Kor Fornesa-Liu, Ajae Yoakum, Catarina Ferreira, assistant coach Angelica de Paulo, assistant coach Sam Daley; front row, from left, Khadija Smith, Peyton Slaga, Nye John, Mary Workman, Isis Smith, Bayli Heap, and Susi Namoa. 

By Kris McBride/EAC

THATCHER — The Eastern Arizona College women’s basketball team won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 1 championship with its 56-47 win over Arizona Western College on Friday night. With a conference record of 16-2, the Lady Monsters are ranked 22nd in the nation and now proceed to play in the NJCAA National Tournament scheduled for April 19–24 in Lubbock, Texas.

Head Coach Cameron Turner, the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Coach of the Year, said he is proud of his team’s commitment during a condensed season due to COVID-19.

“This team has worked hard from day one and stuck with the program despite pandemic challenges,” said Turner. “Playing in the National Championship was our goal from the beginning of the season. They only take 24 teams from across the nation so this is a huge accomplishment.”

The Lady Monsters began the season with a 61–51 win over Arizona Western College on Feb. 5. The team lost only two conference games to finish the season at the top of the standings.

The Lady Monsters swept the Region I Player of the Week honors this season. Sophomore Susi Namoa, as well as freshman Mary Workman, each received Player of the Week recognitions; sophomore Isis Smith won Player of the Week recognition twice and freshman Catarina Ferriera was recognized three times throughout the season.

In addition, the Lady Monsters were recognized with the following ACCAC All-Region Honors:

·         Catarina Ferreira – ACCAC First Team, All-Region First Team, Freshman of the Year

·         Isis Smith – ACCAC First Team, All-Region First Team

·         Susi Namoa – ACCAC Second Team, All-Region Second Team

·         Ajae Yoakum – ACCAC Second Team, All-Region Second Team

·         Coach Cameron Turner – ACCAC Coach of the Year

The NJCAA National Tournament will be held at Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas, from April 19–24. Livestreaming information is forthcoming.