SSU women opens postseason play Friday

March 7, 2014

SSU Sports Release

Shawnee State women’s basketball begins its postseason journey this Friday as the fourth-seeded Bears (18-11, 11-7 MSC) host fifth-seeded Lindsey Wilson (19-11, 9-9 MSC) in quarterfinal action at the 2014 Mid-South Conference Basketball Championships presented by GoJohnnyGo 5K/10K Run/Walk.

Despite finishing fourth in the regular season standings, the Bears enter the weekend as arguably the hottest team in the conference as they have won eight straight Mid-South Conference games to close the regular season. This includes a 92-84 win at Lindsey Wilson to close the regular season last Saturday. The Blue Raiders handed the Bears an 81-74 loss back on November 21 to start conference play.

This will be the second consecutive year that the Bears have entered the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Bears, who were the No. 2 seeds in both the 2011 and 2012 brackets, are a perfect 4-0 in the quarterfinal round of the MSC Tournament since joining the conference at the beginning of the 2010-11 season. The Bears had made the conference tournament finals both times they were a No. 2 seed and were eliminated by then-No. 1 seed Cumberland on a running jumper with five seconds left in regulation just one year ago. Shawnee State has yet to win a conference tournament championship since joining the Mid-South. The last conference postseason championship for the Bears came in the 2008-09 season when they were a member of the American Mideast Conference.

Leading the Bears down the stretch has been the four senior members of this team. Alannah Sheets (SR, Leon, W. Va.) led the conference in scoring during the regular season with 20.7 points per game. She is the first Shawnee State player to lead the conference in scoring since NAIA Player of the Year Erica Hayes led the AMC in the 1998-99 season. That was also the season the Bears won the first and only NAIA Division II Championship in program history. Sheets has scored 20 or more points in five straight games and nine different times overall this season.

Priscila Santos (SR, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Diane Abbady (SR, Ivory Coast, West Africa) have also averaged double figure scoring totals for the Bears this season. Santos, who is in what will be her first and only season with the Bears, is averaging 16.4 points per game. She has scored 20 or more points in 11 games, which is two more than Sheets. Abbady is averaging 14.3 points per game this season and an MSC-Leading 10.2 rebounds per contest. She is also leading the MSC with 11 double-doubles.

The final member of the senior class, Catrice Mitchell (SR, Columbus, Ohio), has also come on strong as of late with five games in which she has scored double figures. Four of those games have come in the final seven games of the regular season. In addition to her scoring, Mitchell has a team-leading 31 blocks. She is averaging 3.4 blocks over the past seven games, including a school record nine blocks against Bluefield in the home finale. Another player that looks to play valuable minutes is Tabby McKinney (JR, Canton, Ohio). In MSC play, McKinney is averaging 9.2 rebounds and 4.6 points per game.

Sophomores Abby Feuchter (SO, Cincinnati, Ohio) and Ali Zieverink (SO, West Chester, Ohio) have each started 28 of the team’s 29 games. Feucther, a two-year starter at point guard for the Bears, is averaging 34.6 minutes per game. During that time, she is averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 assists per game. Zieverink is averaging 6.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in her games. She averages 20.9 minutes per game. Erin Dailey (JR, Kingston, Ohio) is the final SSU player that has seen playing time in over 20 games. She has averaged 9.1 minutes per game during the conference season.

Women’s basketball has beaten each all but one of the teams they could possibly play this weekend. In addition to splitting the season series with No. 5 Lindsey Wilson, the Bears split the season series with No. 1 Campbellsville, No. 7 Rio Grande, and No. 8 Rio Grande. Shawnee State swept the season series with No. 2 Georgetown and No. 6 Pikeville. The Bears went 0-2 against No. 3 University of the Cumberlands, but could not see the Patriots until the tournament finals.

As the host institution, Cumberland University will be providing live stats, video and audio to follow the action live for fans who cannot make the tournament in person. Thanks to a secured sponsorship deal, all games will be streamed free of charge.