A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Five Kentucky women’s teams making their way to Sioux City for opening round of NAIA Championship

By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

The road to the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, for the 40th Annual NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship, begins March 12-13 with the opening-round games at campus sites.

Five teams from Kentucky have qualified for the tournament including top overall seed Thomas More University, Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College, the University of the Cumberlands and Union College.

Thomas More (25-1) is also listed as No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Final Coaches’ Top 25 Poll garnering 14 of the 21 first-place votes. Wayland Baptist (TX) was listed in second place followed closely behind by Campbellsville University in third.

Lindsey Wilson and the Cumberlands were ranked 11th and 24th in the poll, respectively.

Eight host sites will host two three-team pods for a total of 16 teams eventually qualifying for a trip to Sioux City.

Thomas More was selected as one of the eight host sites and will welcome Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and Union (Ky.) along with the Lady Saints for the Crestview Hills Bracket A.

Indiana Tech, Rio Grande (Ohio) and Indiana Wesleyan comprise the Crestview Hills Bracket B.

Lindsey Wilson will head to Alexandria, La., to take part in the Alexandria Bracket B where the Lady Raiders will take on the winner of Lyon (Ark.) and Reinhardt (Ga.).

Campbellsville is the top seed in the Lakeland Bracket B that is hosted by Southeastern University (Fla.).

The Lady Tigers are slated to take on the winner of the Bryan (Tenn.) and Webber International (Fla.) contest. Campbellsville has already downed Bryan once this season.

The final Kentucky team placed into a bracket is the Cumberlands, who will be making the long trip to Omaha, Nebraska for the Omaha Bracket B where the Lady Patriots will take on Providence (Montana) with the winner getting Dakota State (S.D.)

TMC’s Courtney Hurst (Photo from Thomas More College)

Thomas More University (25-1)

The Lady Saints are in their second season in the NAIA and have qualified for the national tournament for the second time but will be seeing their first in-game action in the tournament for the first time after the event was canceled last season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thomas More head coach Jeff Hans is in his 10th season at the helm of the Lady Saints and has been a proven winner at the Crestview Hills school including two NCAA Division III titles in 2016 and 2019. Hans has a 254-22 record as head coach at Thomas More.

The Lady Saints are a balanced-scoring team that can see anyone on the roster as the leading scorer on any given night.

Sophomore Zoie Barth leads all scorers with 13.2 points per game and is followed closely by Courtney Hurst (11.6) and Briana McNutt (10.6). Northern Kentucky University Transfer Taylor Clos is averaging 9.2 points per game.

Campbellsville University (18-2)

The Campbellsville University Lady Tigers are the epitome of a consistent winner. The Lady Tigers have now qualified for a record 29th appearance in the NAIA national tournament.

Campbellsville’s Sammy Rogers (Photo by Brett Pierce, CU)

Campbellsville is led by renowned head coach Ginger High Colvin, who has been a coach at her alma mater for 28 seasons with the last 14 as head coach.

High Colvin is now 382-87 for an 81.4 winning percentage that has seen her squad earning the NAIA national tournament runner-up honors in 2015 with a return trip to the semifinals in 2017.

The Lady Tigers have lost just two games this season with both being at the hands of Thomas More and the most recent in the Mid-South Conference title game.

Reshirt senior Sammy Rogers leads all scorers with 15.5 points per game. Rogers also leads the Lady Tigers in defensive rebounds (81) and blocked shots (10).

Savannah Gregory, a senior and graduate of Anderson County High School, is next in scoring with 13.3 per contest and is tops in total rebounds with 107 and rebounds per game with 5.4.

Lindsey Wilson College (19-5)

A win over the top-ranked Thomas More Lady Saints catapulted the Lindsey Wilson College Lady Raiders as a contender to pull off a national title run.

“We have had a couple of top 10 wins this season, one of them being Thomas More, a first-rate program and very well-coached team,” stated Lindsey Wilson assistant coach Terran Duncan. “That was a great team win for us and it really helped our confidence moving through the MSC. I think the Mid-South Conference is the strongest conference in the NAIA from top to bottom. It is so competitive, and you can never take a night off.

Bree Glover (Photo from Lindsay Wilson College)

“We have five teams (including Shawnee State out of Ohio) represented in the national tournament and probably would have had a sixth if the field wasn’t reduced from 64 to 48 due to COVID. I have no doubt our conference will be represented well on the national level this week and I would love to see everyone out in Sioux City for the final 16.”

Head coach John B. Wethington entered the season with the second-highest active wins leader with 634 in 31 previous seasons at the helm of the Lady Raiders.

Wethington has now earned a career winning percentage of 64.7 percent (655-357).

Leading the Lady Raiders in scoring is Reagan Turner with 22.3 ppg, but there are four others that are averaging at least 9.4 per contest including Sydnie Hall (10.7), Bree Glover (10.5), Maleigha Oldham (9.6) and Hailey Ison (9.4).

“Our kids play so hard and within our system,” added Duncan. “They know by executing our offense that there are opportunities for multiple people to score. Defensively, we are a tough match-up for teams because they can’t key in on one or two players. Having multiple players be able to step up and score each game has been a huge key to our success.”

Along with the 10.5 point that Glover averages, she completes the double-double average with 10.5 rebounds per game.

University of the Cumberlands (14-5)

The Lady Patriots are in the national tournament for the 15th time in program history and the first under the reigns of third-year head coach Rick Reeves.

Reeves may only be in his third season as the head coach for the Lady Patriots, but he is no stranger to the head coaching ranks after spending the previous 28 seasons as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level at Liberty, Southern Mississippi and, most recently, Gardner-Webb.

Reeves was the Big South Conference coach of the year at Liberty three times and once at Gardner-Webb.
The Cumberlands is outscoring its opponents by an average of 9.2 points per game this season.

Silvia Veloso, a native of Maputa, Mozambique, leads a balanced scoring attack with 12.3 points per contest. Veloso is one of six Lady Patriots to average at least 6.8 per game and is joined in double figures by fellow Mozambique native Vilma Covane with 10.8 per game.

Union College (15-5)

The Union College Lady Bulldogs are representatives of the Appalachian Athletic Conference and in the NAIA national tournament for the seventh time.

Dean Walsh is in his second season as head coach of the Lady Bulldogs and has proven to be a quality hire as his Lady Bulldogs have earned a spot in the national tournament twice in as many seasons.

Walsh is no stranger to the head coaching ranks after spending time at four-year schools Converse College (S.C.), Carson-Newman (Tenn.), Maryville (Tenn.) and Hiwassee (Tenn.). He is the all-time wins leader at Converse College.

Brooke Hammonds, a native of Pennington Gap, Va., leads the way for the Lady Bulldogs in pulling off the double-double average with 14.2 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Chariss Wilson, a graduate of Bourbon County High School, has a 11.7 points per game average.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment