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Memphis, TN 38111-3613

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5983 Macon Cove
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901/333-STCC *

DATE: March 27, 2001

CONTACT: Calvin Burns, 901/333-5338 or Marilyn Duncan, 901/333-4247

Women and Men Basketball Saluqis End Banner Season at NJCAA National Tourney

The women's and men's basketball teams at Southwest Tennessee Community College concluded their historic 2000-2001 season at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Championship Tournament Friday, March 23. The NJCAA Men's Championship Tournament was held March 20-24 at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas. The NJCAA Women's Tournament had the same dates at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kansas. Both teams earned the right to play for the NJCAA national crown by winning the Tennessee Junior/Community College Athletic Association (TJCCAA) Region VII Tournament Sunday, March 11, in Dyersburg, Tennessee. This was the first time in the 33-year history of the TJCCAA that the women's and men's titles were won by the same college during the same season.

Dr. Kermit Smith serves as director of publicity for the TJCCAA. "This is a tremendous achievement," Dr. Smith observed. "Those are two of the best teams I've seen in a long time."

The men Saluqis fell 67-89 to Okaloosa-Walton, Florida Community College, in the first round of the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament. That loss put the highly-regarded Saluqis in the Consolation Bracket of the double elimination tournament. In the second round, they defeated Cochise, Arizona Community College 102-98. They then faced Barton County, Kansas. The winner of this game would earn the right to play for seventh place in the nation. The Saluqis fell to Barton County 85-111.

Verties Sails, men's head basketball coach at STCC, guided his team to a 23-8 season record. Coach Sails' career record with the Saluqis is 487-185. Marlon Walls led the team in scoring with an average of 19.9 points per game. Lou Wright averaged 17.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Wayne Moody averaged 11.2 points per game, Devon Buckley averaged 10.6 points and Larry Wells compiled an average of 10.4 points per game.  Marklus Ray had an 8.6 average per game in both points and rebounds. 

The Lady Saluqis also suffered a loss in the first round of the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament. They fell 63-72 to Eastern Oklahoma, and continued play in the Consolation Bracket. In the second round, they defeated Iowa Western 72-71. Utah Valley State defeated the Lady Saluqis 68-62, and earned the right to compete for seventh place in the nation.

Andrea Martre, women's head basketball coach at STCC, directed her team to a 22-9 campaign. Coach Martre, a two-time winner of the TJCCAA Coach of the Year Award, has a 78-59 career record with the Saluqis. Nikkia Jones led the Lady Saluqis in scoring with a 19.0 points per game average. Amie  Williams averaged 17.7 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. Larisha Graves averaged 14.9 points and Torre Thomas had a 13.2 points per game average.

Dr. Nathan Essex, Interim President at Southwest Tennessee Community College, made the following observation about the 2000-2001 Basketball Saluqis: "We commend our women's and men's basketball teams for a superb season. They both achieved the rare distinction of representing the same school in the national tournament. We congratulate our coaches and players for an exceptional year. We ... commend them for representing STCC in an exemplary manner." 

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.