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CCRI earns No. 9 seed in 2023–24 NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championships

CCRI earns No. 9 seed in 2023–24 NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championships

After finishing 20-7 overall and 13-0 in league play while winning its third consecutive Region XXI title, the Community College of Rhode Island women’s basketball team earned the No. 9 seed in the 2023–24 NJCAA Division III National Championships, which begin next week in Rochester, MN.

The No. 9 seed Knights play No. 8 seed Prince George’s Community College in the opening round on Wednesday, March 13 at 1 pm ET. The entire NJCAA D-III women’s tournament streams live on the NJCAA Network.

Ranked No. 11 in the latest NJCAA D-III national poll, CCRI is making its third consecutive appearance in the national tournament as one of 12 teams competing for a title. The top four seeds earn first-round byes while seeds 5–12 play in the opening round. The entire D-III bracket is available online.

CCRI’s first-round opponent, Prince George’s, is ranked No. 8 in the nation and finished 13-5 while winning its third consecutive Mid-Atlantic District Championship to punch its ticket to the nationals. Prince George’s plays in Region XX, which competes annually against Region X for the right to earn the Mid-Atlantic District’s automatic bid. 

The Lady Owls are led by freshman backcourt duo of freshmen Amari Jones, who is ranked 23rd in the nation in scoring at 17.0 points per game, and Kalise Evans, who finished with 15.1 points per game. They are the only players on the roster who started all 18 games for Prince George’s. Guards Jai’Den Anderson and Tamia Washington also scored in double figures (12.4 and 11.9 points per game, respectively) to round out the Lady Owls’ balanced scoring attack. 

Prince George’s strength is its long-distance shooting; Prince George’s led the nation with 9.3 three-point field goals made per game, with Jones finishing third in the nation in that category with 4.2 three-pointers made on 13.2 attempts. The sharp-shooting guard was also the NJCAA D-III Region XX Player of the Month in January, which included a career-high 31-point effort in a win over the College of Southern Maryland. As a team, the Lady Owls are eighth in the nation in scoring (74.2 PPG), 10th in free throws made per game (12.1 ), and 14th in assists per game (14.6).

With the Knights’ ability to match Prince George’s in long-distance shooting – CCRI finished fifth in the nation with 6.8 three-pointers made per game and eighth in three-point field-goal percentage at 30.3 – Wednesday’s showdown between the two schools could be one of the more higher-scoring games on opening day of the tournament. 

Sophomore guard Nysia Ortiz (Providence, RI) and freshman guard Angelisse Melendez (North Providence, RI) remain the team’s top-scoring backcourt duo with Ortiz averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game and Melendez not too far behind at 15.1 points per game. Ortiz’s all-around solid stat line also included 7.5 rebounds per game and a team-best 3.0 assists. Freshman center Stephanie Walker (Providence, RI), who started 26 games – second only to freshman forward Tatiana Pereira (Providence, RI), who started every game – averaged a double-double with 10.4 points per game and 10.5 rebounds.

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