Written and Media by Taylor Ratcliffe.
Last year, the Greenville College Women’s basketball team won the SLIAC tournament, beating Westminster in the finals by a close three points. This sent them straight to the NCAA tournament, losing to Washington University Missouri with a score of 48-87. Although the loss was devastating, the experience of attending a NCAA tournament for the Lady Panthers was amazing! So why not try for it again in the next season?
In the Lady Panther’s 2016-2017 regular season, they were 17-8. With this great record, they went again to the SLIAC tournament, hoping to gain another chance at qualifying for the NCAA tournament. Although the ladies made it to the championship for the second year in a row, they lost to Eureka 74-82.
In order to qualify for the NCCAA Regional tournament, the Christian school must meet certain criteria the NCCAA has set to identify the best schools in their region. Although the Lady Panthers did not make it to the NCAA their overall record of 18-9 was so good, that they were eligible for the NCCAA. This passed weekend, the women’s basketball team participated in this event and blew away both of their opponents.
On Friday, the ladies played Trinity Christian and the game was not even close. Greenville came out on fire ready to prove themselves in this tournament. Within in the first four minutes of the game, the score was already 10-0. Although the score looked good, there were turnovers after turnovers on both sides. However, our saving grace was they could hardly make a basket, their scoring percentages were 23% field goals, 14% three-pointers, and 75% free-throws compared to GC’s 48%, 24%, and 67%. It was clearly a game the Panthers were meant to win. Never in the game did Trinity surpass the Panthers in their pursuit to victory! The end score of the game was 64-42, sending Greenville to the NCCAA championship the following day.
Saturday, the Panthers were out on the court again ready to play. With less than twenty-four hours in between games, legs are bound to be heavy and fatigued. It took GC a little bit of time to warm-up but by the second quarter, they were gungho. For most of the first quarter, Greenville struggled to make easy shots, while Northwestern was able to make most of theirs. By looking at the score, one would think Northwestern was dominated when, in fact, Greenville still dominated the first quarter. At the start of the second quarter, Greenville had a lead of four, and from there the Panthers had the win. Although Northwestern tried and did a great job trying (the game was almost always within ten points) their efforts were not enough to defeat the Panthers. GC wanted, NEEDED, to go to the NCCAA championship. After the thrill of the NCAA tournament, they are ready for the new thrill of the NCCAA. This drove the ladies to win the game, drastically for a championship game. The final score against Northwestern was 70-55. After winning such a big game, many teams will have the coach or the captain cut down the net, however, GC women did this a little differently. Many of the girls were able to cut a little part of the net down. What great team chemistry! Not one person believes she is greater than another player!
Because of the Lady Panthers wins this past weekend, they will have the opportunity to win the title of NCCAA D1 National Champions. Their next tournament starts March 15 and goes until the 17th or 18th, depending on their placement. The tournament will be hosted at Grace College in Indiana. Although it is spring break for many GC students, be sure the cheer and give your support to the amazing women on the Greenville basketball team.