FINAL SEVEN GAMES BEGIN THURSDAY - Lady Pioneers In The Home Stretch

The Glenville State College Lady Pioneers ranks atop East Region, Division II polls, and held onto the sixth spot in the USA Today-ESPN national poll released Tuesday, February 6.

Just seven regular season games remain before the WVIAC Tournament begins February 26.

Five of those last seven games have a home court advantage.

Of those, the February 17 match with number two ranked (WVIAC) Charleston may be 'the game' of the regular season for both teams. A sell-out crowd is expected. Charleston is (18-4) (11-0); Glenville stands at (20-2) (11-0) The two teams are perennial rivals.

The Lady Pioneers are always tough, but particularly so when playing in Glenville. As testament, over a span of six years, ending January 12, 2005, the team racked up 64 consecutive home court wins - the longest in the NCAA at the time.

The team has a history which already may be destined to become the legend and lore of another generation. Maybe it already is, but in the midst of witnessing history we are in no position to judge.

Lady Pioneers head coach
Steve Harold (pictured left)
(Photo by Drew Moody)

Glenville took one step closer in that direction when the WVIAC recently named Lady Pioneers Head Coach Steve Harold (left), Rachel Redick and three former Glenville players to its "25 and 25" squad - the top 25 All-Time Women's Basketball Greats celebrating the twenty-fifth Anniversary of Women's Sports in the conference.

Harold was a unanimous selection on all ballots, and Redick is the only active player being honored. Former Lady Pioneer Players honored are: Tracy Wyatt, (2001-04) the sole unanimous selection among players; Nikki Cale (1990-93), and Denae Dobbins (2005-06).

In his twelfth season, Steve Harold, a Glenville native, decided he wanted to be a coach went he was in sixth grade. "That's all I ever wanted to be was a coach." Even as a youth, he recognized the positive impact local coaches had on his life, and as he grew older wanted to do the same for others.

One element that differed from most kids - often glued to a TV watching sports - Harold took notes. He studied the game of basketball. And when his parents, Charlie and Martha Harold, purchased the family's first VCR he began taping games and charting plays.

For years Harold has studied and analyzed offensive and defensive strategies. He's done it for so long, he sees patterns of movement during games often yielding insight to an opponent's next move.

That ability, acquired over many years, a sheer love and dedication to the game, and a personal commitment to excellence one of the key elements of the Lady Pioneers success.

Careful recruiting and the depth of raw talent on the team is another.

Lady Pioneers Captain
Rachel Redick (right)
(Photo by Drew Moody)

Despite three-time All-American Rachel Redick's great skill and ability, even her star doesn't shine as bright as the entire team's as a whole. These girls play for each other, and put winning and teamwork ahead of self, Harold said recently.

"No one cares who gets the credit as long as our team wins," he said.

During a game, the team shifts like a gyroscope always finding balance.

If one player is having an off night, other players step in to take up the slack. Such depth takes the pressure off individual players. They all have the capability to carry the team over rocky spots and give an outstanding performance.

Add to that the Lady Pioneers brutal defense, and it's a difficult onslaught for opponents to withstand.

Harold says this particular team is the best prepared Lady Pioneers team he's had the pleasure of coaching.

He's quietly optimistic about the rest of the season.

The final seven games start Thursday when the Lady Pioneers begin a three-game home stint, facing West Virginia Wesleyan, followed by Saturday's match against West Virginia State. Both begin at 5:30 p.m.

Next Monday, February 12, third ranked (WVIAC) West Liberty comes to Glenville for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Lady Pioneers next travel to Concord, February 15, returning for the much anticipated 5:30 p.m. Charleston match-up at home February 17.

Following the Charleston game, only two remain. On February 22, the Lady Pioneers will host Bluefield State at 5:30 p.m., finishing the season traveling to Davis & Elkins, February 24.

The first round of the WVIAC Tournaments is slated to begin February 26.