Men’s, women’s basketball teams advance to NCCAA tournament

Lady Bulldogs Basketball
The Lady Bulldogs win the NCCAA regional tournament over Lee University March 15 in the Fred Delay Gymnasium. | Photo by Anne Richoux
Ashanti Day
Bulldog Ashanti Day goes up for a layup during a game against Christian Brothers University in the Fred DeLay Gymnasium. | Photo by Anne Richoux

The men’s and women’s basketball 2013-14 regular season is coming to a close, but both teams are headed into post-season play as a part of the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association Mideast Regional Tournament.

The women’s team wrapped up its season with an overall record of 20-6 and 15-5 in the Gulf South Conference.

The team ended the regular season in third place despite still being unable to compete in post-season play due to the final provisional year of transferring to NCAA Division II.

Latesa Mclaughlin, a graduate student getting her master’s degree in Social Work, is the senior point guard for the women’s team.

“Overall, I believe we have had a great season,” Mclaughlin said. “I believe we showed tremendous growth [in the Gulf South Conference] as we competed on a higher level of basketball for the second year in a row.”

The girls finished the regular season with an impressive away record of 9-3 and 10-3 at home.

They also scored 90-plus points twice and broke the 100-point mark twice as well.

“As an athlete, many individuals view the success of our season by the numbers listed in the wins and losses column.

Although those numbers do display success, our team’s success personally is not defined by that.

“Our ultimate goal is to bring glory to God. With that being said I believe our team has had a remarkable season thus far as we each have grown spiritually and impacted other people’s lives,” Mclaughlin said.

As the beginning of post-season play, the women’s team hosted the Region Tournament on March 14 and 15 and took on Bluefield College on that team’s home court Friday night.

Five of the Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures, and Mclaughlin led the team with 12 assists; the players came out victorious in the 100-58 win over the Bluefield Rams.

The team went on to play in the Mideast Region Championship on Saturday night against Gulf South Conference foe Lee University.

Of the team’s five conference losses this season, two have been at the hand of Lee, with a combined difference in scores of those two games at seven points.

The game proved to be another close one in the series as the Lady Bulldogs eventually came out on top with a final score of 68-65.

Mclaughlin and junior guard Amy Philamlee, junior sports medicine major, were named to the Mideast All-Region first team, and head coach Mark Campbell was named region coach of the year.

Next up for the girl’s team is the NCCAA National Tournament March 19-22 in Winona Lake, Ind., at Grace College.

The men’s basketball team also concluded its second regular season competing in the Gulf South Conference.

Overall, the team was 11-15 and 7-13 in conference.

At home, the men went an impressive 9-5, with five of those wins against opposing conference teams.

“My favorite memory on the year so far was the West Alabama game at home,” said Ashanti Day, a freshman sports management major and guard for the team.

On Jan. 25, the men’s team stunned the visiting West Alabama team in a spectacular 80-79 win with a last second shot by junior guard, Corieon Pearson.

Miguel Martinez, a sophomore power forward on the team and business administration major, also chimed in about the West Alabama game.

“The buzzer beater against West Alabama was a special feeling, not only for Corieon but for the whole team as well,” Martinez said. “It is just something you don’t get to experience very often.”

On Thursday, March 13, the men’s basketball team traveled to Bluefield, Va., and took on Tennessee Temple as part of the NCCAA Mideast Region Tournament.

Day and Pearson led the Bulldogs with 21 and 20 points, respectively in the 98-71 win over Tennessee Temple.

The Bulldogs then went on to play for the Mideast Region Championship the next night, and took on the hosting team, Bluefield College, coming out on top 91-76.

“Winning regionals was an awesome feeling for the whole team,” Martinez said. “We have put in the work and dedication in order to accomplish that goal. We have proven that we can do big things on the road, and now our focus is winning nationals.”

Pearson was named the NCCAA Mideast Region Player of the Year, and head coach David Niven named Mideast Region Coach of the Year.

Pearson was also named first team all-region, senior AJ Roberts was named second team all-region and Day was named to the all-tournament team.

The men’s team will join the Lady Bulldogs March 19-22 at the NCCAA National Tournament in Winona Lake, Ind.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Lydia Wright 38 Articles
Lydia Wright is a member of the graduating class of 2015 and the Sports Editor for the Cardinal & Cream. A public relations major and marketing minor, Lydia is also a member of the Union University volleyball team and avid sports enthusiast.