The #2 Johnson & Wales-Charlotte University Lady Wildcats won the 2018 USCAA Women’s Division II Basketball National Championship by defeating #1 Central Maine Community College Lady Mustangs, 75-64.
Johnson & Wales used stellar defense and an impressive performance from guard Chase Muhammad, who led all scorers with 24 points, including 14 in the second half. Muhammad had several key shots late in the 4th quarter that stopped a surging Central Maine – and sealed the game for the Lady Wildcats.
After a dominating 1st quarter, Johnson & Wales-Charlotte led Central Maine, 23-13. Their guards forced Central Maine turnovers with their full court press and scored several points off their mishaps. The Lady Wildcats finished the afternoon with 23 points off turnovers compared to Central Maine’s 12. A force inside for Johnson & Wales-Charlotte, forward Jaquana Pauling played 30 minutes, pulling down 14 rebounds and scoring 10 points. Fellow forward Ineesha Hankerson scored 16 points and added 7 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Central Maine chipped away at the lead but could never gain enough momentum to put a significant dent in the lead. They went to the locker room down 41-28, and their troubles would continue well into the 3rd quarter when Johnson & Wales-Charlotte saw their largest lead of 19 points halfway through the quarter. A CMCC three-pointer from Kristen Huntress at the 5:16 mark sparked a big rally for the Lady Mustangs, resulting in Central Maine in cutting the score 62-61 with less than 5 minutes in regulation. Central Maine had a chance to take the lead but two back-to-back made field goals from the Lady Wildcats halted the Central Maine comeback and a Chase Muhammad jump shot with 2:42 to go sealed the game. Central Maine’s Jane Lester led all Lady Mustang scorers with 16 points in just 10 minutes of play.
Women’s Division II Tournament MVP
Ineesha Hankerson, Johnson & Wales - Charlotte
Women’s Division II All-Tournament Team
Danasia Dumas, Warren Wilson College
Nina Grey, Villa Maria College
Brooke Reynolds, Central Maine Community College
Jordyn Reynolds, Central Maine Community College