The Tompkins Cortland Community College women's basketball team honored its sophomores prior to its game with Cayuga Community College Saturday, and then two of those sophomores led the team to a 70-61 victory. The win improves Tompkins Cortland to 14-8 overall and 7-4 in the Mid-State Athletic Conference, and secures the #3 seed for the upcoming MSAC playoffs. The loss drops Cayuga to 3-8 in the MSAC and 9-14 overall.
The starting lineup included all three sophomores: Mariama Jaw (Brooklyn/Benjamin Banneker Academy), Tatiana Minnick (Ithaca/Ithaca H.S.), and Jaida Washington (Elmira/Elmira H.S.). Along with Taylor Day (Brooktondale/Ithaca H.S.) and MacKenzie Kenyon (Ovid/South Seneca H.S.), the group helped the Panthers score the first five points to take an early lead. Cayuga came back to tie the game twice before Tompkins Cortland held a 22-17 lead at the end of the quarter. The Spartans again rallied in the second quarter, this time coming all the way back to take the lead. By halftime, the lead had changed hands six times, with the final change of the half leading to the Panthers' advantage of 36-29 at the break.
Cayuga scored the first seven points of the third quarter to tie the game at 36-36, and the Spartans held a lead of two points twice before the Panthers closed the quarter on a 14-1 run to lead 58-45 at the end of three quarters. The lead grew to 15 with a basket to open the final quarter and Cayuga could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Washington and Minnick each had big games. Washington came up just shy of another triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 9 blocks, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Minnick led the team with 6 assists while scoring 7 points, pulling down 5 rebounds, and blocking 2 shots. Kenyon scored 18 points with 3 rebounds and 3 assists and Day had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and 3 assists. Reyanah Brown (Syracuse/Syracuse Academy of Science) chipped in with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
The Panthers host Finger Lakes Community College Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the final game of the regular season. The team will then prepare for the MSAC and NJCAA Region III playoffs – the MSAC tournament is Friday and Saturday with the Region III tournament starting Tuesday, February 27.