Photo: Coaches with the seven seniors: Bottom row: Johnesha Major, Middle Row: Quiana Tucker, Courtney Randle, Chaterra Cage, Top row: Coach Curtis Loyd, Bria Freeland, Kate Inchun, Coach Alisha Standridge, Kourtney Pennywell
SHREVEPORT, La. – The LSU Shreveport women's basketball team has already had a year to remember as they won 14-straight at one point of the season surpassing the previous LSUS women's record of 12 wins in a row. They also held sole possession of first place in the Red River Athletic Conference standings at one point but finished two games behind Our Lady of the Lake. The Pilots were the only RRAC team to hand OLLU a loss as they defeated the Saints 69-67 at The Dock.
First year head coach Curtis Loyd knew from the first time he met his team that it could be something special, "This team was a little different because having seven seniors they knew exactly where they wanted to go." And for these seven seniors it was winning the conference title and receiving a bid to play in the National Tournament.
They still have that in range as the Pilots could punch their ticket to the NAIA National Tournament by winning the RRAC Tournament this weekend in Alexandria, Louisiana. The other automatic bid has already been claimed by Our Lady of the Lake when they won their 5th consecutive regular season title. If the Saints make it to the Championship Game in this weekend's tournament, then the team they face in the championship will receive the other automatic bid to represent the conference in Billings, Montana.
Certainly one might have wondered if the Pilots would be in this position, potentially one win away from the National Tournament, after a 3-6 start to the season.
"Starting the season the way we did helped us more than anything," said Loyd whose team could have very easily been 7-2 if not for a couple possessions in each of four of their early six losses. "We saw our potential could be very high if we come together and play together." The Pilots won 17 of their final 20 games including the big winning streak.
LSUS won their first 11 conference games that they played but Coach Loyd never once acted like his team was leading the league, "With this conference being really good we knew it was just a matter of time before the teams in the league would catch up to us," he said. "I thought we did a good job of finishing strong and showing the people from our preseason picture to now that we really had our goals set coming into RRAC play."
The Pilots (20-9) are one of six teams that will compete in this year's RRAC Tournament. They will join no. 1 OLLU (23-7) who await the winners of Thursday's games for their Friday matchups. The first round games are as follows: no. 3 Wiley (21-6) vs no. 6 Langston (12-13) at 1 p.m. and no. 4 Huston-Tillotson (15-8) against no. 5 St. Thomas (14-13) at 3 p.m.
LSUS will play the highest seed remaining at 1 p.m. on Friday and OLLU will battle the lowest seed remaining at 3 p.m.
"We are looking forward to having the second seed and playing the tournament that will be in our home state to cap off a special season which hopefully does not end here," said Loyd. "The way the bracket sets up there will be some great games all three days. And we want to be a part of it all the way to the end."
The Pilots went 2-0 against Huston-Tillotson, St. Thomas and Langston this season while splitting the two games with Wiley and OLLU. No matter the matchup in the semi-finals for the Pilots it should be a good one with seven hungry seniors who are trying to do something else that has never been done in program history, win a conference tournament!
|22-10 (.688)||15-3 (.833)||Lost 1|