GSC tournament preview: UWF vs. UWA

By Chris Cody
Staff writer

The University of West Florida women’s basketball team will take on the University of West Alabama in the semifinals of the Gulf South Conference tournament this Saturday at Birmingham, Alabama.

“I feel good about playing them (West Alabama) because I feel like we owe them one and that’s always a good attitude to have to go into the tournament,” Coach Stephanie Yelton said.

Whoever wins between UWF and UWA will take on the winner of Lee vs. Union in the finals of the GSC tournament on Sunday.

The Argos will enter the game with an overall record of 17-11 and an 11-9 record in conference play while UWA’s overall record is 14-14 and their conference record is 10-10.

UWF, who entered the GSC tournament as the 6th seed, defeated Valdosta State University 68-49 on the road in the first round of the GSC tournament on Tuesday. Valdosta State defeated UWF last year in the finals of the GSC tournament in overtime.

UWF had lost at Valdosta State in the last regular season game before having to come back five days later and play them in the tournament.

“The first game went down to two possessions so we were disappointed with the loss but not heartbroken, so when we came back we made some adjustments and got the result we were looking for,” Yelton said on her team’s last two games against Valdosta State.

The Argos leading scorer for the season is junior forward Halee Nieman who is averaging a little over 14 points per game and led the team with 21 points over Valdosta State. Nieman was also named to the All-GSC second team.

Junior forward Halee Nieman has been named 2nd team All-GSC. (Photo by Chris Cody)

UWF Senior forward Courtney Meyer leads the GSC in rebounds averaging 10.8 rebounds per game and is 2nd in the GSC in blocks averaging 2.3 blocks per game. Rebounding will be important for the Argos as they are third in rebounding margin but UWA is right behind in fourth.

UWA, who entered the GSC tournament as the 7th seed, defeated North Alabama to advance to face the Argos in the Semifinals.

UWA’s leading scorer is freshman guard Tazsa Garrett-Hammett who leads the Tigers while averaging 14 points per game.

UWF played UWA earlier in the season and lost 83-72 after the Argos had a 12 point lead heading into the 4th quarter.

This tournament will ultimately decide if UWF will be able to qualify for the NCAA Division II tournament. If the Argos were to win the GSC tournament they will automatically qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Before the GSC tournament, UWF was ranked as a 10th seed in the regional rankings but only the top 8 from each region can make the tournament. However, after beating Valdosta State and a potential victory over UWA could move the Argos to an 8th seed without having to win the GSC tournament.

Last season the Argos had a great run making it all the way to the Elite Eight in NCAA Division II tournament before losing to California Baptist 77-69.

“To move on and make it to the NCAA tournament again would be amazing because it is great for our program and great for the younger players who are returning,” Yelton said. 

The final NCAA Division II rankings will be made this Sunday at 9 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *