Saturday, November 23, 2013

Huntington runs away from Olivet Nazarene in the second half

Everything appeared good-to-go at halftime for the NAIA Division II women's team at Olivet Nazarene. The Tigers led 54-51, and the second half almost always goes the way the team running The System.

Fatigue is the main reason, with the pace more-often-than-not too much for the opponent. Not this time.

Courtney Baker scored 21 of her 23 points following halftime, Amelia Recker and Pazia Speed combined for 29 points after the break and Huntington University ran away to a 121-101 victory Saturday in the final game of the Holiday Inn Express Classic at Olivet Nazarene.

The Foresters also turned it over only six times in the second half, keeping the Tigers from the large advantage in shot attempts all System teams need.

Speed led the way with 27 points and Recker matched Baker's total of 23 for Huntington (4-3).

Miranda Geever had 16 points for Olivet Nazarene (3-4), and Liz Bart and Malory Adam added 11 apiece. The Formula numbers still looked pretty good for coach Lauren Stamatis' team:

  • Attempted 101 shots
  • Attempted 45 3-pointers
  • Rebounded 47 percent of its own misses
  • Forced 18 turnovers
  • Attempted 21 more shots than the Foresters

The Tigers travel to the University of St. Francis (Ill.) on Tuesday, with game time scheduled for 6 p.m. EST.

Fossett, Goodson lead Glenville State to first victory in new conference

The NCAA Division II women's team at Glenville State College changed conferences over the summer, joining the new Mountain East Conference. And the Pioneers, regular season champs of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2012-13, picked up right where they left off, rolling past Shepherd University 130-77 on the road Saturday.

Ashleigh Fossett made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points, Kenyell Goodson added four 3s and 19 points and five other players reached double figures, as well. That included Tiffani Huffman (17 points, five 3-pointers), Tasia Bistow (17 points), Kenyona Simmons (13), Keyanna Tate (12) and Paige Tuttle (10).

All System stats were a go for Glenville State in this one:

  • Attempted 102 shots
  • Attempted 52 3-pointers
  • Rebounded 45 percent of its own misses
  • Forced 45 turnovers
  • Attempted 40 more shots than Shepherd

The Pioneers return home to play Fairmont State on Monday, with tip scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST.

Huge rally gives Grinnell victory in Midwest Conference opener

Many non-Division I programs start their conference schedules very early, and the NCAA Division III men's team at Grinnell is no exception. The Pioneers traveled to Illinois College on Saturday to open play in the Midwest Conference, and the early going wasn't very kind to America's Team (yes, that is Grinnell).

The Blueboys (great mascot!) jumped out to an 18-point lead about midway through the first half, but fortunately for us, Coach David Arseneault's team rallied. Jack Taylor scored 30 points and Patrick Maher had 10 of his 29 points in a span about about a minute late in the second half, helping Grinnell beat Illinois College 132-126.

Luke Yeager added 26 points for the Pioneers (4-0, 1-0 MWC). He, Taylor and Maher each had a team-high four assists, as well.

Maher's personal run started with the Blueboys leading 107-102 with about 4 minutes remaining in the game. The senior from Park Ridge, Ill., worked his way inside for a layup while getting a fouled, then completed the and-1 to cut the deficit to two points. Maher then tied the score with another hoop from the paint, then matched a 3 from Illinois College's Zeke Light to make it 110-110.

After Chris Marrs scored for the Blueboys, Maher did it again to tie the score for the final time at 112. Yeager made a three throw and a jumper from beyond the arc to give the Pioneers a four-point advantage, and Illinois College never recovered.

Grinnell is off for a week before traveling to conference rival Beloit College next Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m., EST. 

Olivet Nazarene opens tourney with impressive effort

The NAIA Division II women's team from Olivet Nazarene University (Bourbonnais, Ill.) got off to a great start in its own Holiday Inn Express Classic, thanks in large part to Liz Bart. The senior from Cary, Ill., made 10 3-pointers and scored 33 points to lead the Tigers past Mid-Continent University 133-92 Friday night.

This is the second time this season that ONU has scored at least 133 points; on Nov. 5, it beat Lindenwood University 138-118.

all System stats from this one were impressive for the Tigers (3-4):

  • Attempted 112 shots
  • Attempted 71 3-pointers
  • Rebounded 44 percent of their own misses
  • Forced 39 turnovers
  • Attempted 41 more shots that Mid-Continent

Miranda Geever added 21 points, dropped 11 dimes and finished with four of ONU's 26  steals. Others score in double figures were Jessica Gerig (15 points), Jayne Stuart (13) and Taylor Haymes (11).

The Tigers hosts Huntington University on Saturday in the finale of the tournament, with tip scheduled for 4 p.m.  EST at McHie Arena. Best of luck to Coach Lauren Stamatis and her team.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Disappointing end to magical season for Glenville State

For the second time in three seasons, the NCAA Division II women's team from Glenville State reached the national tournament. And this time, the Pioneers advanced through one round with a 111-86 rout of Shaw.

Coach Bunky Harkleroad and his squad couldn't get past California (Pa.) in their next game, however, losing 81-79 to finish with a 27-4 record. That included a 21-1 mark in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, good enough for the regular season title. Glenville State finished four games ahead of West Liberty.

Here are some highlights of the Pioneers' season:

  • Averaged 95.3 points to lead all NCAA divisions again, and that average increased to 99.3 in conference play.
  • Ginny Mills led four players who averaged double figures, finishing with 19 points per game. The others were Kenyona Simmons (15.0 ppg), Ashleigh Fossett (12.6) and Kenyell Goodson (10.9).
  • In all, 10 players got run in all 31 games as Coach Harkleroad took advantage of perhaps the best depth he's had in his tenure at Glenville State.
Now, for the changes this year, the most surprising of which is the departure of Coach Harkleroad. He announced his resignation Oct. 9, so he could take over as head coach at Division I Sacramento State, which lost its coach a couple of weeks previously to San Jose State.

The dominoes also cost the Pioneers their assistant coach, with former player Kim Stephens joining Coach Harkleroad on the left coast.

Those that know of my interest (Devotion? Obsession?) with Glenville State asked how I felt about this turn of events. Well, certainly, the timing wasn't perfect for anyone, and I'm going to miss having Coach Harkleroad on my side of the Mississippi River. And yet it's hard to deny this is an exciting time for him and The System, since this will be the first time the creation of David Arseneault has reached NCAA Division I. I haven't spoke with Coach Harkleroad about this, but I've heard he is planning to bring this wonderful, titillating style to the Hornets.

Hopefully, I'll get a chance before the season to check in with him, to see how he's going out there. It is kind of hard to picture someone leaving "Mountain Mama" for Cali, but I'm sure he'll do great.

His replacement is a familiar face with the program, one-time assistant Charles Marshall. He will lead Glenville State into its new conference, the Mountain East Conference. The new schedule begins for real Nov. 8 against Virginia Union.

Of course, that is just about a week after the unofficial start, when the Pioneers travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play Duke in an exhibition. That is slated for Oct. 30, and yes, I plan to be in attendance.

Can't wait!

Grinnell finishes 17-6, comes up short of title game

One of the few downsides of being a fan of the Grinnell Pioneers is the brutal, Darwinism-like NCAA Division III schedule they are forced to play. What do I mean?

Well, this past season, Grinnell finished 17-6 overall record and ended up second in the Midwest Conference, one game behind St. Norbert. All that guaranteed coach David Arseneault and his assistant, son Dave Jr., was a trip to the conference tournament, where only the top four teams make play.

A 92-89 loss to Carroll in the opening round (semifinals?) ended the Pioneers' season much sooner than I would have liked, leaving me without the opportunity to follow one of my favorite teams until the following November.

Well, it's nearly here, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to recap an amazing journey for Coach A and the boys in 2012-13:

  • Obviously, any discussion about Grinnell starts with Jack Taylor, the 138-point man. He put up that amazing avalanche of points in the third game of year, way back on Nov. 20, in a 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College. His point total wasn't the only record set that night at Darby Gym; Taylor made 52-of-108 shots from the field, including 27-of-71 from beyond the 3-point line. Unfortunately, he played in only 12 of the 23 games; he broke a bone in his arm in a 119-117 victory over Cornell College on Jan. 9 and missed the remainder of the season.
  • Once again, Grinnell led all divisions of the NCAA with an average of 112.3 points. The Pioneers attempted nearly 54 3-pointers in each game and averaged almost 87 shots total.
Taylor is back and ready to go, as are three of the other top five scorers from a year ago. There also are seven freshmen ready to step in to run The System, including guard Kyle Parker, who garnered some looks from Division I schools before deciding on Grinnell. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with this group.

The season begins for real Nov. 15, at home against Finlandia University.