The Lady Bears won their opening round matchup of the Region 23 tournament on Wednesday afternoon by defeating Meridian Community College 80-79. The win was the tale of two halves; BRCC faced a seventeen point deficit in the first half, but was able to mount a charge in the second half to earn a berth in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.
BRCC was slow out of the gate. It took nearly three minutes to get on the scoreboard and the Lady Bears were not themselves. Turning the ball over, giving up second chance points and most surprising, not being able to guard on the perimeter made it seem like nothing was going the Lady Bears way.
At one point near the end of the first half, BRCC trailed 39-22; they were able to make a small run before entering halftime trailing 43-30.
The Lady Bears were a different team in the second half. The offense came alive as BRCC began making open shots and scoring points in transition.
With twelve minutes left in the game, BRCC had cut the deficit to six points, 54-48. With just under nine minutes remaining it was a one point Meridian lead and from here on out it would be a back and forth battle.
In the end, the Lady Bears and Lady Eagles were tied at 79 with 2.7 seconds left when Rosa Bryant was fouled while in the act of shooting. The sophomore was able to make one of two free throws to give BRCC the final lead. Meridian was able to get off one last half court heave, but it fell short.
The win moves BRCC into the semi-finals when they will face Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Friday's matchup will be the third meeting between the Lady Bears and Lady Wolves this season. Each team won on their home court earlier this season. In Baton Rouge on November 11th, the Lady Bears won 80-66; Co-Lin defeated BRCC 63-51 on January 7th.
A win on Friday will mean more than a berth in the Region 23 finals on Saturday evening. With a victory vs the Lady Wolves, BRCC will earn an automatic bid into the national tournament in Salina, KS.