WVU Tech has adopted the “Why not us?” mantra.
The Golden Bears’ women’s basketball team (17-13) enters the 2013 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in Frankfort, Ky. as an underdog against one of the top seeds, NAIA No. 1 Freed-Hardeman (Henderson, Tenn.) University (31-1), in a 5:45 p.m. first-round encounter Wednesday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Freed-Hardeman, an NAIA Fab Four participant in 2011, is the TranSouth Atlantic Conference representative, while Tech is the Association of Independent Institutions representative.
The Golden Bears are the No. 8 seed in Quadrant I of the 32-team bracket, while the Lions are the top seed.
“Absolutely, we welcome the challenge,” said Tech coach Jenna Everhart. Her team’s first-round opponent is “very talented,” she stressed. “They’re well-rounded scoring and a very good defensive team.”
In the postseason, she stresses, “It’s the same for everyone. Everyone has the same opportunities.” Last year, for example, Freed-Hardeman was a No. 1 seed and was bounced out in the first round. “Why not us?,” Everhart asked.
Senior guard Courtney Sturdivant leads the Bears into action with a 15.7 points per game scoring average while pulling down 6.1 rebounds an outing. Fellow senior Amy Gardner, a shooting guard, averages 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds and has canned 63 3-point field goals. The squad’s third senior, shooting guard Amber Tully, scores at a 12.2 ppg clip and averages 5.2 rebounds per game while hitting 79 3-pointers.
Other main contributors include Nia Nolan (9.8 ppg, 128 assists), Roche Wimberly (7.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Tracee Mitchel (4.8 ppg), Mashya White (4.5 ppg) and Cheyanna Lusk (4.2 ppg).
Lusk, a freshman from Westside High School, feels she’s made a lot of progress this season.
“It’s a totally different level,” she says of the college game. “I feel like I’ve gotten better within myself. It’s pushed me to be way better.”
To get the court time she has so far has been a bonus, Lusk added. “I didn’t expect it (the playing time) coming in as a freshman.”
Sturdivant said her team was underestimated at the recent A.I.I. event on its own home court. “Everybody came to play,” she said. “We showed ‘em.”
“Practice has been good,” she continued. “All the girls are excited to be going to the tournament.
“I have to make sure I keep everybody calm. I feel like we can play with anybody.”
“The key is definitely defense and rebounding,” Sturdivant stressed. “Our offense always comes.
“We’re really positive going in. Our attitudes are better (than last year). We just come ready every day. I just want to upset a lot of people.”
Gardner stressed that the Golden Bears must stick together.
“Basically, we just have to play as a team,” she said. “I feel like we have enough pieces ... if we can put it all together.
“We all have to show up and play for 40 minutes.”
Gardner, who’s been at Tech for 2 1/2 years, feels this year’s team “has better team chemistry.” And, she adds, there’s a “better work ethic, and we focus on defense.
The Lions, winners of 17 straight contests following a 74-71 overtime loss to College of the Ozarks on Jan. 3 (the season’s only blemish), are led by Natalie Shumpert (16.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Ashley Tate (9.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Amber Alexander (8.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg).
“From an athletic standpoint, we match up well,” Everhart said. “We have had a challenging schedule.
“We’re hitting our stride at the right time. There’s no reason we can’t put ourselves in a position to win. It (the NAIA tourney appearance) is a great thing for Tech.”
“Last week (winning the A.I.I. tournament) was amazing,” she added. “We’ve all come back down to earth.
“We’re ready to compete.”
The winner of Wednesday’s game faces the survivor of the Campbellsville (Ky.)-Wiley (Texas) matchup that will be played at 8 p.m. tonight.
For up-to-date information on the NAIA National Tournament and other WVU Tech Athletics, visit www.GoldenBearAthletics.com.
WVU Tech has adopted the “Why not us?” mantra.
- Latest Sports
Westside wins a classic
Many words will be used to describe Friday night’s battle for the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 championship between No. 4 Wyoming East and No. 6 Westside, but one that will be used the most is simple — classic.
Lady Spartans punch their ticket to state tournament
For 21 minutes Friday night, Greenbrier East relived last year’s nightmare, which saw the undefeated Lady Spartans, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, fall short of the state tournament with a shocking loss to a Capital squad that was below .500 in the Region 3 co-final.
Fast start propels Valley past Wildcats
One day can sometimes make a lot of difference. A whole lot.
Annual Biddy-Buddy tournament gives the chance to grow as players and friends
As good as they are, Tamar Slay and O.J. Mayo didn’t just pick up a basketball and get drafted into the NBA.
WVU finishes season today at home vs. Kansas
The NCAA Tournament bubble seems to have popped on West Virginia’s men’s basketball team thanks to a string of five losses in seven games — including a 72-62 defeat Wednesday at Oklahoma.
Mountaineer women open Big 12 Tournament play today
The No. 7 West Virginia women’s basketball team enters the 2014 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinal round as the No. 2 seed, and will take on either No. 7 seed TCU or No. 10 Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Eastern today.
One step from state tourney
Home, sweet, home.
The ball seemed to bounce Woodrow Wilson’s way as the Flying Eagles turned back visiting Greenbrier East 63-46 in the Class AAA Region 3, Section 2 final at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Lester powers No. 2 Renegades past PikeView
Westside head coach Jamie Lusk feels that what separates an athlete from a champion is the will to win, pouring yourself out and leaving your heart on the court in the pursuit of victory.
Lady Bobcats headed back to Charleston
It was the new kids on the block against the old guard. The Bluefield Lady Beavers were looking to make their first appearance in the state tournament while the Summers County Lady Bobcats, winners of seven state titles, were looking to go back to Charleston for the first time in three years.
Lusk, WVU Tech start title defense today
Cheyanna Lusk has seen improvement in her basketball game this year.
- More Latest Sports Headlines
- Westside wins a classic