UWF women’s basketball preps for GSC tourney, likely NCAA bid
by Jay Phillips, Staff Writer
The UWF women’s basketball team will host West Georgia for round one of the GSC Tournament Tuesday night after the Argonauts reeled off a 13-game winning streak to end the regular season.
“I think the biggest challenge at this point in the season is: how hungry are we?” Coach Stephanie Lawrence Yelton said. “Sometimes teams can get on winning streaks and they forget how hard you had to work to make that winning streak happen.”
UWF (23-4, 17-3 GSC) finished the regular season in second place in the GSC, while West Georgia (15-11, 10-10 GSC) finished in seventh place.
West Georgia and UWF met twice in the regular season, with the Argonauts sweeping the series.
Despite the sweep, UWF only won both games by a combined 10 points, but the Argonauts are averaging over 73 points a game in their last five home games, and Yelton is confident in her team’s defense.
“With the defense we run, it takes a little bit of time for new players to get in that groove and learn how to play it,” Yelton said, “so usually at the end of the season our defense is peaking.”
Last season the Argonauts started the GSC tournament with wins against Valdosta State and West Alabama, then advanced to the championship round where they lost to Union by 12 points.
If UWF beats West Georgia on Tuesday, the Argonauts will advance to a round two game in Birmingham, Alabama, where the rest of this season’s GSC Tournament will be played March 9-10.
The winner of the UWF and West Alabama game will play the winner of the Alabama-Huntsville and Lee game in the second round.
Union holds the top seed in the GSC Tournament, with UWF, Lee, Delta State, Valdosta State, Alabama-Huntsville, West Georgia and West Alabama filling out the rest of the field in that order.
UWF stands in a good position for the regional NCAA tournament that will follow the GSC Tournament with the Argonauts being in third place in the South Region and still building onto the program’s longest winning streak.
“I think our team is still very, very hungry,” Yelton said. “They have a lot of things they want to accomplish this season.”
Florida Southern and Union hold the top two spots in the South Region, while Lee and Tampa hold the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The selection committee for the NCAA tournaments uses the regional poll to give out the regional tournaments’ at-large bids.
The South Region owns five at-large bids, one of which will be for the Argonauts (unless UWF falls out of the South region’s top-5, which seems unlikely at this point).
The GSC, Southern Intercollegiate Conference and the Sunshine Conference will all send their conference champions to the regional-tournament, in addition to the five at-large bids.
The regional tournament will take place March 15, 16 and 18 at the location of the region’s top-seed.
The winner from each of the country’s eight regions will go to a national tournament and compete in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Photo courtesy of Morgan Givens.