Everybody needs goals. We as a team are no different. During conference play, our short term goal was to finish in the top four so we’d get a bye in the first round of the tournament (We were in 5th place at the time.) The team stayed focused, had a good run of wins, moved up in the standings and accomplished our first goal by finishing second. You’re familiar with the phrase “blessing in disguise,” and that’s what we experienced with our final two conference games, which were losses at UTEP and Tulane. It woke us all up!
The tournament bracket was arranged with a possibility for us to play Tulsa, Tulane and UTEP, and frankly, I was happy about that. It gave us a chance to avenge all our conference losses. We definitely made a statement in the Tulsa game. We beat them using a trapping defense and pressure – the girls were not to be denied. Brittani Allen showed her offensive talent by hitting three threes against Tulsa at just the right time to get us going. Tulane got knocked out by Marshall so that scenario went away. Marshall had us down by 15 at one point in the game, but the girls showed a lot of poise. We switched to a zone defense, which slowed down Marshall’s athleticism. JB Samuels was the offensive punch in that game.
Against UTEP, I saw a fire in the girls’ eyes, and a confidence more than I’d ever seen before. UTEP came at us with an 18-0 run in the second half, but the team bounced back with a 17-0 run of its own. Sharee Shepherd was the difference in the second half of this game. We relied on our seniors more than ever in this tournament, and they came through for us like the champions they are. When it was all over, Sharee was named to the All-Conference team and Janielle Dodds was named Tournament MVP. In truth, they were ALL MVP’s. It’s been awhile since this office has experienced such euphoria, and we like it!
You’re all invited to the Women’s Selection Show Watch Party on Monday, March 17, being held at Ten Sports Grill at 1302 Main Street in downtown Dallas, starting at 6 p.m.