Glenville State College Lady Pioneers with their
NCAA East Region, Division II Championship trophy

Photos by Drew Moody

By Drew Moody
Special to the Hur Herald
Lady Pioneers Capture NCAA East Region
Championship-Elite Eight Begins March 21

There were many heroic efforts during Monday night's hard-fought Glenville victory over Indiana University Pennsylvania (IUP).

The win was particularly sweet for the four seniors who made a final appearance on their home court as a Lady Pioneer.

Rachel Redick, Casey Taylor, Lauren Strong and Christy Alltop have no more than three games remaining in what has been, for each of them, a stellar college basketball career.

Redick was named tournament MVP and joined Casey Taylor, Melanie Oliver, Jahzinga Tracey (IUP) and Katie Glaws (IUP) as all-tournament team selections.

For those not among the capacity crowd the final score of 63-57, giving Glenville a six-point margin, may give an erroneous impression the victory was sealed with the cushion of comfortable lead.

With 54 seconds remaining to play it was a four-point game.

IUP with a 23-9 record coming into Monday's game was perhaps an underestimated opponent to the casual observer, but not to the inner circle of the Lady Pioneers.

During the first half of play IUP controlled the court and successfully disrupted the Lady Pioneer game. It was a "shoes on the other foot" experience for Glenville. IUP was able to accomplish what no other team had - disrupting the Lady Pioneer offense to the point of panic.

Two of Glenville's players were 'under the weather' with a cold-flu bug that quickly spread through the athletic department upon the team's return from the WVIAC tournament in Charleston.

Rachel Redick drives to the basket for two - Obviously pleased
with the championship win, she cuts a piece out of the net

Rachel Redick ultimately credited the win to the four seniors pulling together to deal with the pressure. "I just knew I'd been in this position too many times before," Redick said. In the end, she said the team worked much too hard this year to let the victory slip away.

It was a stressful game for head coach Steve Harold (left) who was not sure of the win until time ran out.

Several of the Lady Pioneers made 'BIG PLAYS' when it was needed most, keeping the team on track. Rachel Redick, Christy Alltop and Mallory Menendez nailed big three-pointers at critical times when the team not only needed to score but benefited from the psychological boost.

IUP's hot hand from the outside, Katie Glaws, was held to only two three-pointers. During their semi-final 75-59 victory over Pitt-Johnstown Saturday Glaws dropped six triples to tie the school's single game record.

Crimson Hawks high scorer Jahzinga Tracey, averaging 18.7 points per game, was held to 13.

Those two factors alone may be the difference between a win and loss for the Lady Pioneers.

Individually, each of the Lady Pioneers made significant contributions.

Melanie Oliver broke up a fast break stopping a guaranteed two points for IUP.

Lauren Strong stays clear of Indiana University
defenders as she moves the ball down court

Karina Kendrick looks for an open teammate

Karina Kendrick contributed to a couple of tide-turning plays, including a defensive steal early in the game when it looked like IUP may be on a break-out scoring run.

Late in the game Christy Alltop was knocked to the floor with no whistle from the referees. In unison the crowd on both sides of the gym booed so loudly - nothing else could be heard. Alltop, like Redick, made buckets, key points which rallied teammates, as well as the crowd.

With just over two minutes remaining in the game, leading by four, Melanie Oliver followed up offensive shots three times, getting the rebound and keeping the ball in play for the Lady Pioneers until she drew a foul.

The effort brought the crowd to its feet.

During a post-game press conference Oliver was disarmingly candid. A reporter asked how she felt about the regional title and how she prepared for the game.

She politely said since she'd never done anything like this before, she didn't know what to expect. However, because she knows how much the team counts on her to always give her best, she was determined not to let anyone down.

So how did she do? She gave, and gave, and gave. Oliver finished the night one rebound short of another double-double. She had 10 points, nine rebounds and five steals.

Head coach Steve Harold called her efforts "explosive," and said Oliver was the best recruit he'd ever had - with the exception of Rachel Redick.

"Rachel's a great player," Harold added. "And I'll guarantee you there's no other athlete that works any harder."

Rachel Redick finished the night with 19 points, six assists and four rebounds. Christy Alltop scored 10 and Mallory Menendez had eight points, two of which were triples, despite being in the game for only 5 minutes.

Next week the Lady Pioneers will travel to the Elite Eight tournament in Kearney, Nebraska. Quarterfinals will begin March 21, Semifinals will be played the following day and the national championship will be held March 24.