Arizona Wildcats and Texas A&M Aggies are 2021 Paradise Jam Women Tournament Champions

Arizona team picture after winning 2021 Paradise Jam Women Tournament Island Division. (Photo by Mark J. Daniel)

The final day of 2021 Paradise Jam was once again filled with excitement. After this three-day event held in the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center, the University of Arizona and Texas A&M proved to be the best teams within their division. The final day featured four games.

Island Division
Game 9 – DePaul University 91 – Vanderbilt University 74
DePaul University Blue Demons (5-2) were down early but came back to claim a decisive 91–74 victory over Vanderbilt University Commodores (4-4) on the final day of the 2021 Paradise Jam basketball tournament. The Commodores looked more like a group of bees on defense swarming to the ball, forcing the Blue Demons to cough up the ball 16 times to take a 28-12 lead at the end of the opening period. The Commodores’ sting wasn’t as potent in the second half as the Blue Demons had only seven turnovers and started to find their touch on offense. Sonya Morris took over this game for DePaul in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 consecutive points. Morris finished with a game-high 36 points and her teammate Aneesah Morrow also had an all-star performance accumulating 28 points and collecting 15 rebounds for the Blue Demons. Jordyn Cambridge led Vanderbilt with 17 points. Sacha Washington came off the bench to add 14 points and grab ten rebounds.

Game 10 – University of Arizona 80 – Rutgers University 44
The Arizona Wildcats (7-0) had no trouble with Rutgers University Scarlet Knights (4-4) in the final game of the Island Division of the 2021 Paradise Jam women’s tournament. The Lady Wildcats led from the opening tip and never looked back, scaring the Knights in their 80-44 win on Saturday. Rutgers managed to make only three field goals for the entire first half, while Arizona couldn’t miss in the second quarter shooting 68%, leading to 34 points in the final period of the half. The Scarlet Knights did outscore the Wildcats in the second half, 36-34. Cate Reese led Arizona with 16 points. Gisela Sanchez and Aaronette Vonleh came off the bench and contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively. Osh Brown led Rutgers with nine points. The University of Arizona claimed the Island Division championship trophy with the win.

Arizona’s Cate Reese was named the Island Division MVP. Sam Thomas, also of Arizona, joined Reese on the All-Tournament Team. Aneesha Morrow and Sonya Morris of DePaul and Jordyn Cambridge of Vanderbilt round out the Island Division All-Tournament selection.

Reef Division
Game 11 – South Dakota University 72 – University of Pittsburgh 61 (Overtime)
This game had everyone on pins and needles in the arena as South Dakota Coyotes (3-4) came back to tame the Panthers of Pittsburgh University (5-2) 72-61 in overtime. The Panthers pounced on the Coyotes early, jumping out to an 18-9 advantage after the first period. The Coyotes settled down in the third quarter and came all the way back, sending the game into the fourth quarter tied at 44. Both teams fought hard in the fourth, making big shots down the stretch. Pitts Dayshanette Harris hit a three-pointer with just 1:20 left in regulation giving the Panthers a 3-point lead. Later, South Dakota’s Chloe Lamb sank a pair of free throws and then nailed a floater to put the Coyotes up 55-54. Maddie Krull of South Dakota came up with a steal and was fouled, sending her to the free-throw line. Krull hit one of two free throws giving the Coyotes a two-point lead. Pittsburgh Liatu King sent the game into overtime with an offensive rebound that she quickly put into her team’s basket. In overtime, Lamb took complete control of the game as the Senior scored 10 of her game-high 30 points for the Coyotes. South Dakota came away with a hard-fought overtime victory by 72-61. Sjerven Hannah contributed 9 points and ten rebounds for the Coyotes. Harris led the Panthers with 18 points. Mary Dunn added 10 points for Pittsburgh.

Texas A&M team picture after winning 2021 Paradise Jam Women Tournament Reef Division (Photo by Mark J. Daniel)

Game 12 – Texas A&M University 77 – Northwestern University 68
Texas A&M University Aggies (7-0) used a solid third quarter to pull away from Northwestern University Wildcats (4-3) to claim a 77-68 victory in the final game of the Reef Division in the 2021 Paradise Jam women tournament. Aggie Jordan Nixon started off the game on fire, making all four of her shots, scoring 11 points. Nixon was stopped only when she picked up her second foul, and Hall of Fame Coach Gary Blair sat her on the bench. Nixon picked up right where she left off in the second half, nailing one of her six made 3-pointers just 58 seconds into the third quarter. Nixon finished with a game-high 25 points. Destiny Pitts and Kayla Wells both added 15 points each for the Aggies. Veronica Burton led the way for Northwestern with 18 points. Melannie Daley contributed 15 points, while Jillian Brown scored 13 for the Wildcats. Texas A&M finished the tournament with three wins, good enough for first place in the Reef Division.

Members of the Reef Division All-Tournament Team; Left: Veronica Burton of Northwestern, Kayla Wells of Texas A&M, Tournament MVP Jordan. (Photo by Mark J Daniel)

Jordan Nixon of Texas A&M earned tournament MVP honors and was selected to the All-Tournament Reef Division Team. Fellow Aggie Kayla Watts was also named to the elite team; Veronica Burton of Northwestern, Chloe Lamb of South Dakota, and Dayshanette Harris of Pittsburgh were all chosen as members of the 2021 Paradise Jam Reef Division All-Tournament Team.