Information from the Pima media relations department contributed to this report.
Pima sophomore guard Jacqulynn (J.J.) Nakai scored a team-high 19 points with seven rebounds and four assists in the No. 6 Aztecs’ 64-57 win over Sinclair (Ohio) Community College yesterday to claim fifth place in the NJCAA Division II national tournament at Harrison, Ark.
Nakai was named to the NJCAA Division II All-Tournament team and closed her Pima career with a program-record of 1,397 points.
“I definitely grew as a player and as a person in my two years at Pima,” Nakai said. “Getting all the knowledge from the coaches, especially Ros (assistant Jim Rosborough, former longtime assistant with the Arizona men’s team). He taught me so much over the two years.”
With yesterday’s game tied at 55-55 with 2:54 left, the Aztecs closed it out on a 9-2 run. Nakai broke the tie with a three-pointer as the Aztecs took advantage of missed shots and two turnovers down the stretch by the Tartans. Pima went 3-1 in the tournament.
The Aztecs smothered Sinclair’s Amanda Schroeder, who came into the game as the leading scorer in Division II at 27 points a game. Freshman Hallie Lawson and Marlena Arroyo-Plata , both of Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, were the primary defenders as they held her to 15 points on 6 for 16 shooting and six turnovers.
Sophomore JJ Nakai on her game and her two years at Pima. She is the Pima women's basketball all time scoring leader and finishes with 1,397 points. #PimaBasketball #NJCAATournament pic.twitter.com/AGVGYnJzsS
“Hallie Lawson did an amazing job and its not just one person but we did a good job of making sure Hallie had lots of help so she (Schroeder) didn’t get loose,” Pima coach Todd Holthaus said. “It might have been one of our best defensive performances. Our offense struggled a bit today but that doesn’t happen very often. We found a way to win.”
Lawson also did it on the offensive side as she finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore RyLeigh Long finished with 11 points while freshman Alyssa Perez of Marana had eight points and 10 rebounds. Perez, who is 5’7″, averaged 8.3 rebounds in the four games.
The Aztecs finished the season with an overall record of 24-12 — their biggest win total since the 2015-16 season. They had eight sophomores on this year’s team.