Redick, Taylor and Kendrick Honored
NCAA East Region Playoffs This Week

Casey Taylor celebrated her birthday by helping teammates capture the WVIAC Championship crown and, along with Karina Kendrick, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Casey Taylor (L) puts the ball on the floor driving to basket. Taylor does a fade-away jumper (R) getting a step ahead of West Liberty's Lena Kalvans

(Photos by Drew Moody)

Kendrick played her best overall game of the season scoring 11 points and nabbing five rebounds. Casey Taylor was unstoppable underneath, her shots liquid smooth, scoring 16 with six boards.

The night belonged to the Lady Pioneers. And it belonged to Rachel Redick who was everywhere. She led the team in scoring (20), assists (6) and steals (4).

West Liberty was completely overwhelmed both by the Lady Pioneers offense and defense, held to only 23 points in the first half and 21 points in the second. The final score: 69-44.

Melanie Oliver scored eight, and Lauren Strong had seven.

Glenville led every statistical category, finishing the season 30-2.

Rachel Redick beats West Liberty defender

Rachel Redick was name Most Valuable Player and was presented the Red Hartman Heart and Hustle Award. In addition, Glenville State College was presented the Sam Marcio Sportsmanship Award.

"This has been a special, special year. I just don't want it to end," said Coach Steve Harold.

And let's not forget...previously, Rachel Redick was named WVIAC Player of the Year, she holds the title for highest scoring woman in West Virginia WVIAC history, Melanie Oliver was named WVIAC Freshman of the Year, and head coach Steve Harold was - for the third time - named WVIAC Coach of the Year.

The Lady Pioneers also hold the WVIAC season championship trophy as well.

The stunning victory was the culmination of several dreams coming true.

West Liberty's Lisa Perry (L) goes after rebound controlled by
Christy Alltop. Casey Taylor (R) put pressure on West Lib's offense

West Liberty Came Apart Under Lady Pioneer Pressure. For the initial seven minutes of the game, it looked like it would be a close contest.

A Rachel Redick triple tied the score at nine with 13:35 left.

From that moment on it was a one-sided affair West Liberty will not soon forget.

Three minutes later and the Lady Pioneers had scored 10 unanswered points and the Hilltoppers were coming unglued.

Seven more minutes passed and West Liberty was outscored 20-7 and with just under three minutes left to play in the half the score stood at 39-16.

By the half Redick had already hit 15 of her 20 points for the game, and the score stood 43-23.

It was the culmination of a well-executed plan.

Lauren Strong Key to Defense

Lady Pioneers assistant coach Dennis Fitzpatrick got his wish yesterday. First make it to the championship game; and secondly, face West Liberty instead of Charleston.

"I think we match up a little better with West Liberty," Fitzpatrick said as he watched the two teams play Friday.

Fitzpatrick pointed to the Lady Pioneers defense as being "the" critical factor in winning.

Glenville fans have repeatedly seen offenses simply overwhelmed by the pressure the Lady Pioneers are capable of applying.

"Lauren Strong is the key for us," Fitzpatrick said. "If she can get after their point guard she can really disrupt them."

Strong's "war face" (above) is so convincing, the attractive senior said recently many Lady Pioneer fans don't recognize her in street clothes

Head coach Steve Harold said overall preparation and a tough, aggressive, man-to-man defense is what makes the team consistent.

"This team can bring more pressure than any team I've ever had."

The pre-season conditioning, by Harold's own description, is grueling. "I don't know that I would want to go through it," he admitted.

"When you do three miles of sprints in 45 minutes it'll take you to the point of tears."

And then there's Harold's multi-page scouting reports. He diagrams opponents plays and he expects the team to memorize it. Ideally, well before the game, the Lady Pioneers will know all their opponents plays and hand signals.

The strategy has certainly paid off.

Deja Vu, New Tournament & Number One Seed

Although it has yet to be officially announced, it's all but taken-for-granted the East Region NCAA Tournament will begin next Friday in Glenville.

The Lady Pioneers will have Sunday off, and begin preparation Monday, Harold said.

Eight teams will compete for the regional title.

And, you guessed it, the Lady Pioneers are the number one seed.