Women’s basketball earns postseason slot for WBI

Wally Pendergrass

Staff Writer

The Trojan women’s basketball team earned a second chance and will play against Mercer in Macon, Georgia, Thursday, March 19, in its second ever postseason game in school history.

The Trojans are the No. 5 seed in the East Bracket of the Women’s Basketball Invitational, which is a 16-team tournament for teams who were not selected for the NCAA Tournament.

The Trojans go into the tournament having won eight of their last nine games and lead the Sun Belt Conference in scoring at 76.4 points per game, which is also 13th in the NCAA.

The Trojans achieved only the fourth 20-win season in school history this year, ending with a 20-10 record.

The Trojans’ defense averages 12.1 steals per game, which is first in the Sun Belt and third in the NCAA. The Trojans are also fourth in the NCAA with 22.6 opponent turnovers per game.

Two Trojans also received individual awards for their 2014-2015 season efforts.

Senior forward Ronita Garrett and junior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley were named to be on the All-Sun Belt Conference first team .

Garrett led the Sun Belt in double-doubles with 21 this season, which is also seventh in the NCAA.

Garrett holds three school Division I records in single-season rebounds, double-doubles, and single-game rebounds.

Beverly-Kelley was also named to the Mid-Major All-America third team by CollegeSportsMadness.com.

Beverly-Kelley is second in the Sun Belt in scoring at 17.7 points per game. She has scored 20 or more points in eight of the last 12 games.

She has 1,302 career points, the 11th most is school history and fifth most in Troy’s Division I history.

The Trojans’ berth and honors are bitter-sweet after a tough loss in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals to UL Lafayette 66-52, Troy’s worst scoring performance of the season.

Garrett scored six points and had eight rebounds, the first time in seven games that she didn’t achieve a double-double.

Beverly-Kelley led the Trojans with 17 points in the game, but the Trojans overall shot only 34.8 percent from the field, the fifth worst percentage of the season. Troy also had its worst free-throw shooting percentage of the season at 16.7 percent.

The Trojans hope to get back into form on Thursday against Mercer, an opponent whom Troy has faced several times in recent years, and has an overall 10-14 record against.

If the Trojans defeat Mercer, then Troy would face the winner of Northern Kentucky and Marshall either Saturday, March 20 or Sunday, March 21.

For students wishing to attend the Mercer game in Macon, Georgia, Troy Athletics and the Troy University SGA are offering a free bus ride to the game.

The trip includes a free ticket to the game, a free T-shirt and pom-poms. Head coach Chanda Rigby will also provide pizza and drinks after the game for fans.

Those interesting in traveling have until 11 a.m. on Thursday to sign up in Trojan Center Room 215. The bus will depart from Trojan Arena at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 19.

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