By: Nick Kieser
CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE — The Vol State Lady Pioneers stay alive in the NJCAA Region Seven postseason tournament. The Pioneers defeated Dyersburg State 78-71 in the play-in game for the first round of the playoffs.
Shalaya Armstead led the team dropping 19 points and Aliyah Miller totaled 18 to keep the Pioneers alive in the postseason tournament. Dyersburg took the game by storm the first half by a score of 37-32. High energy came from both sides of the court having the Vol State baseball and softball teams cheering on one side and the Dyersburg men's basketball team cheering for their school.
"The main thing is that they finally turned up their intensity and they finally wanted to prove they could play. They did not want to go out to that team, they wanted to get to the second round, and they wanted to prove they were better than what they've been playing like and I think they did that," said head coach Otis Key after the win.
Last time out against Dyersburg the Pioneers fell 83-72 at home. This go around the program took a step up and showed Dyersburg the full potential of how well the Pioneers can play.
"We started to pull our press back and had better communication. We had a better game after seeing them twice already," said Miller after the game on how the Pioneers were able to beat Dyersburg.
"He was saying to not let this be your last game. It was constant all through practice and all throughout the week. We just came out and we wanted it," said Shalaya Armstead.
Armstead has had one other 19 point performance this season and it was back on Dec. 7 at Chattanooga State when she last accomplished the same feat. Miller has hit double-digit points in her last three games and next up against Walters State she will be tested do it once more.
"We told them that come tournament time its win or go home. Not to worry about tomorrow but take care of today first. We gave everything effort wise today and we'll go rest tonight," said assistant coach Tony Thompson.
The Pioneers play Walters State at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2 to open up round two of the playoffs. The Senators (16-0) have not lost to a conference opponent this season, perhaps the first one is to the Pioneers. Follow the team of Twitter @VSCCPioneersWBB for more news and updates on the tournament.