By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- In a battle of NJCAA Top 25 teams, the visiting Tribunes from Monroe Community College, out of Rochester, New York, were able to hold off the Owens Express 81-70. The Tribunes came in as the #5 ranked team in the country, after having defeating Vincennes University 83-80 on Saturday afternoon as a part of the Express Classic.
After a tightly contested first period, the Tribunes jumped out to a double digit lead before the break at 42-29. Monroe was lead by sophomore Lanay Rodney, who scored 21 of her game high 36 points in the first half. Monroe shot 59% in the first half, taking advantage in the paint to the Express's 38% from the field in the first two periods.
The deficit remained 13 after the third period, after each team scored 18 points in the third period. That is when the Express buckled down defensively. Lead by Daichele Hatcher, Owens ratcheted up the pressure, deploying a press to try and claw back in the game. The tactic worked as Owens was able to trim the deficit to just three points after a Dai'Shona Polk three with a little over 2:30 to play in the fourth period.
Both the Tribunes and Express would trade buckets for the next minute. Monroe's Torrie Cash was able to get a basket and one opportunity to go to push the lead back to six, but sophomore Brenda Pennington returned the favor at the other end with a minute and a half left.
Unfortunately for the Express, that was the closest they would come. Owens was unable to convert from the field consistently enough, and they were forced to foul. Cash was able to go perfect from the line at 6-6 to close out the ball game and the Tribunes 11 point victory.
Owens's leading scorer was Essence Cowan. Cowan, a sophomore was 9-21 from the field, scoring 23 points, her highest total through the first three games. Cowan is also the team's best returning scorer from a season ago, when she averaged 12.2 points a game. Dai'Shona Polk continued her hot start to the season, finishing with 20 points on 8-13 shooting from the floor. The freshman was also 3-4 from beyond the arc on Sunday afternoon. Polk was also tied with sophomore Brenda Pennington for the team lead in rebounds at six. Pennington also had a team high six assists in the game.
- This is the third time that Owens and Monroe have met in the the Express Classic hosted by Owens. The Express won the last two matchups in 2014 and in 2013. Owens won 74-58 in 2013 and 88-76 in 2013.