By Grant Stevens - Staff Writer
March 14, 2012 —
Queens for a day … make that six years.
The word championship and the Kentucky Christian University women’s basketball team once again went hand-in-hand, as the Lady Knights defeated Maranatha last Saturday in the NCCAA Division II Women’s National Championship, 61-41.
After a spin move in the paint freed up sophomore center Monica Stevens for a layup in the post, KCU found itself on top of the Lady Crusaders 11-0, six minutes into the game.
The early lead provided enough of a cushion for the defending champs to secure a dominating victory.
Lady Knights Head Coach Ron Arnett said his team’s good fortune in the opening half can be contributed to getting all the right breaks.
“Sometimes the ball just goes your way,” Arnett said. “It seemed like we got every loose ball early on. They’d block two or three shots, and they would come right to us and we would put it in the basket. But I think it was our defense that made the difference here tonight, when you hold a good team to 41 points, you’re doing something right.
After falling behind early, Maranatha gave its crowd a reason to cheer, as it mounted a slow but steady climb back into the game.
While KCU’s offense stagnated a bit over the final 10 minutes of the half, the Lady Crusaders knocked down a number of threes, before a long bomb from Autumn Peotter with 1:14 left in the half cut the Lady Knight lead to 25-18.
A nice drive by senior Courtney Green wrapped up the scoring for the Lady Knights, pushing the lead back out to nine, before Maranatha’s Laci Peterson raced back down the floor for her own transition basket to end the first with KCU out in front 27-20.
Following the break, KCU’s youth shined, as Stevens and fellow sophomore guard Tonya Bowens helped to keep their team’s lead at 10 or higher for the remainder of the game.
Stevens led the Lady Knight’s with 17 points and 8 rebounds in the win, while Bowens chipped in with 12 points on the night. Seniors Tara Weddle and Courtney Green also made their final performance in red and white memorable, as they contributed seven and six to the effort.
With the win also comes the time to say goodbye, as the Lady Knights will enter next season without the presence of its five seniors Autumn Carter, Courtney Green, Ashley Savage Tara Weddle, and Leann Dahlstein.
Stevens said it was a team effort and she was glad to grab the win for the team’s five seniors.
“I am just glad we could send our seniors off in style,” Stevens said. “They have meant so much to this team, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to have them set a good example.”
Bowens, who ended up as tournament MVP, also expressed love for her senior compatriots.
“We came in hoping to jump on them early, and for us to be able to send off our seniors with four rings on their fingers…it was a great way to finish things off.”
Six-straight championships is an accomplishment few programs in any sport can claim, the Lady Knights seek to outdo itself when they seek a seventh-straight title in the 2012-2013 season.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.