Finishing his second year as head coach of the
Lady Pioneers, Bunky Harkleroad celebrates winning
the WVIAC Tournament Championship by removing the
net from the rim at the Charleston Civic Center.
Story and photos by Drew Moody
It's been just six days, since the Lady Pioneers captured
the WVIAC Tournament Championship.
Second year head coach Bunky Harkelroad and the team re-wrote the
script that many believed would occur. Perhaps the new five-at-a-time
substitutions was looked upon more as a novelty....at first. May some
thought it would be impossible to sustain such a fevered pace
and score baskets too.
Yet the Lady Pioneers are the top-scoring team in the country in
NCAA Division II play, averaging over 96 points per outing.
Consider the teamwork, will and desire to win that propelled
these young women to this level of play in such a short
period of time.
The last time the Lady Pioneers ended the season atop
the WVIAC field of competitors the core players had three
solid years of play together, and weren't bouncing back from
a period of rebuilding.
LaToya Hambrick, at 6'1'' becomes the face
of intimidation on defense here against UC
Autumn Davis gets ready to make a move along
the baseline against the University of Charleston
In most games the Lady Pioneers simply over-powered
their opponents, usually through defensive intimidation.
And then there's the long list of GSC players who can be
deadly from triple range at a pace that sometimes looks
like a continual fast-break.
Concord's head coach Kenny Osborne came closer than
any to implementing a strategy to off-set GSC's strengths in
their semi-final duel. His girls certainly shut off West Liberty's
spigot, slowing that game to a crawl, then came back and
startled the Lady Pioneers with a running game of their own.
During the Championship game there were times when
the University of Charleston had difficulty getting the ball
down the court offensively -- they were clearly frustrated, more
likely just overwhelmed and exhausted by the pressure.
And the volume of the cheering Glenville fans threatened to
blow the roof off the Civics Center a few times....which
didn't help the opposition.
In addition to capturing championship honors, several
Lady Pioneers were honored individually.
Miranda Reed brings the ball down-court for GSC.
She leads the league in assists, plus was selected
as the Commissioner's Heart and Hustle Award winner.
Miranda Reed, Mishae Miles and Tenisha Wilson were
named to the women's all-tournament team. Wilson was selected
as tournament most-valuable-player; and Reed was given the
Commissioner's Heart & Hustle Award.
The rest of the all-tournament team were: Paige Alviani, Seton Hill;
Tiani Beatty, University of Charleston; Jolysa Brown, Concord;
Tarena Dixon, University of Charleston; Lindsey Kentner, University
of Charleston; Sidney Lindsey, Concord; and Jenni Robbins, West Liberty.
Two other players were given individual honors. The George Springer
Trophy (Individual Sportsmanship) was awarded to Ali Tobias (University of Charleston) The Galperin Trophy (Highest Scoring Average): Jolysa Brown (Concord) - 74 points in three games for a 24.7 point per game average.
The Lady Pioneers face the Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith
University today, March 11 at 2:30 p.m. in the opening round
of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament at Edinboro
University, located just south of Erie, PA. The Game will be broadcast live on 100.3 FM WAFD and on the internet at gscpioneers.com Air time is set for 2:00 p.m.