The #18 seeded Pioneers suffer their first loss of the season against the #15 Senators of Walters State in the first round of the NJCAA National Tournament and their first appearance in the tournament since 1990. MCC couldn't shake the big stage jitters in the first quarter and got down 6-20 after one.
The Senators are a very big, physical team that made it hard for MCC to play their usual game. The Pioneers shook off the nerves a little in the second quarter, but Walters height really hurt the Pioneers inside and the score at the half was 18-36. The Pioneers picked up their defensive pressure in the third quarter and were able to outscore the Senators, 12-8. Baskets were hard to come by for MCC, shooting just 31.6% from the field and just 25.9% from beyond the arc. The Pioneers were out-rebounded, 39-20 in the game and ultimately fell, 47-65 to the Walters State. The Region XIII and District D Champion Pioneers end their season an amazing 33-1.
Patrycja Jaworska led the team in scoring with 10 points, followed by Bre Moea'i with eight and Carmela Garcia with seven. Moea'i pulled down five boards to lead the team. Kylee Meredith had five assists to lead the Pioneers. The Pioneers forced 22 turnovers in the game.
"I was very fortunate to be the one to coach this team," commented head coach Nate Vogel. "They are an incredible group of young women who just happen to be talented basketball players as well. This has been a special year. The hard part is not the loss, the hard part is knowing our time together as a team has come to an end in terms of basketball. I'm really going to miss being with this team everyday. Thankfully, these young women are on my team for life."