Every year over 300 Division One Girls Basketball Programs practice hard for an opportunity to play in the post season tournaments. There are three Tournaments that accept teams that have earned the right to participate. The NCAA, WNIT and WBI. The selection process is not always an easy one. There are several factors that go into consideration. Overall season records. Conference records. Strength of schedule. Conference tournament Champs. ect…. This year there were several of our local girls who play on Division One Basketball Teams. Unfortunately not every one of their teams will be participating. Below are the local girls whom teams face and met the challenge and earn the right to extend play. What is also nice is that several of our local girls are not only playing basketball at a high level but are doing the necessary work that is required to graduate and truly become what the NCAA deem as a Student Athlete
Elon University: WNIT: Coach Charlotte Smith did an outstanding job by getting the Lady Phoenix in post season play. They came up just a little short against James Madison whom won the CAA Conference and Conference tournament Championship in the semifinals. The addition of Southern Alamance Shaylan Burnett made all the difference in the world as her program finish with 19 wins including two division two wins. They will face off against Georgia Tech in the first round of action. Look for Samantha Cofer (Northern Guilford), Autumn Carter (Rockingham) and Lenaira Ruffin (River Mill) to provide additional help. Samantha Coffer will graduate this spring and has done a remarkable job in the class room. Elon may now have the inside track on local recruiting after a stellar year. Look for Elon to challenge for the conference title in the very near future with Burnett at the controls.
Radford University : WNIT: Coach Mike Mcguire has done an excellent job in helping to turn around a dismal program over the past two years. They set precedence of what was coming during last season when they were practically in every game. This year those close games became wins especially over the likes of High Point and Campbell. Kierra McIvor (Dudley) has provided needed help and has stayed the course and will graduate this year. She has done all the right things that are required to be called a Student Athlete. Radford is now in position to have many more productive seasons now that the taste of winning is no longer an after thought. They will take on East Carolina and a win could provide a recruiting edge for the future.
North Carolina State University: WNIT: Coach Wes Moore team would have love to have had a better record than 16-14 and 7-9 in conference play. However being invited to play in the WNIT could have major dividends in the long run. They will take on ETSU in the first round and a win is vitally important for recruiting purposes. Akela Maize (New Hope Academy) and Kaley Moser (Burlington Williams) help make up the team but are not depended upon as of yet. North Carolina State has a long way to go to compete against the likes of Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville and North Carolina.
Middle Tennessee State University: Coach Rick Insell has Middle Tennessee as a consistent winner over the past few years. His teams are always in position to knock off just about any team they face. This year different challenges were presented to the team. Middle has had their share of uncertain situations including the stabbing death of a team mate just a few short years ago. This year the Blue Raiders were fortunate to land former Southwest Guilford and High Point University post player Cheyenne Parker to their squad after sitting out last season because of transfer rules. Cheyanne is one of the best post players in the nation but had to sit out early in the season because of a violation to team rules. When she became active the team went on a roll and she did a great job. Middle finished second in conference play. Unfortunately some team rules were violated again and her collegiate career was terminated. Middle will face Ball State in the first round. This is a team that could win the WNIT especially if Parker was available.
Stony Brook University: WBI: Coach Caroline Mccombs help guide the Seawolves to a third place finish in conference play and a post season tournament in her first year after taking over for Coach Beth O’Boyle whom now Coaches at VCU. One of the highest academic schools in the nation has now learned how to win consistently. Just a few years ago they were winning 7 and 4 games respectively. The recruitment of Miranda Jenkins (Eastern Guilford) help to spark a talented class of student athletes. She suffered a season ending knee injury and was redshirted. The team won 4 games that year. The next year she played sparingly as she continued to rehab. The team won 14 games that year. The following year she started and team set a school record with 24 wins and reached the WNIT. She unfortunately had to have surgery on the other knee and missed the Championship game and the WNIT game against Michigan. The Eastern Guilford graduate was the Student Athlete guest speaker for the opening of their 21.3 million dollar Long Island Credit Union Arena back in October which can be viewed on youtube. As a starter, Stony Brook won 17 games this year and has average 20 wins or more over the past two years combined 24/17. Stony Brook has played against 7 teams that are either in the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT this year. She will graduate this Spring and have one more year remaining to play. This is the first time in the schools history that they have reached post season back to back.