Lady Archers advance to the National Tournament
By: DJ McGuire
The St. Louis Community College Lady Archers defeated the Arkansas Mid-South Greyhounds for the NJCAA Division II District P Championship. The game took place on Saturday March 11, with the final score being 77-56 in favor of the Lady Archers.
With this victory the Lady Archers advanced to the NJCAA National Championship. This year’s National Championship is being held at Pioneer Pavilion in Harrison, Arkansas. The Lady Archers were given the eleventh seed.
The Lady Archers won their first game against Guilford Technical Community College, the number six seed, by a score of 77-59. In their next game the Lady Archers lost against Monroe Community College, the number three seed, by a score of 82-53.
In their next game in competition for 5th place the Lady Archers played Kalamazoo Valley Community College, the seventh seed, and ended up being victorious 64-62, on a last second layup by freshman guard No. 11 Erika Harvey.
The Lady Archers then faced the 13 seed, Essex County College in the fifth place match and won by a final score of 73-52. The fifth place finish at the national tournament is the highest finish for the Lady Archers Basketball program in school history.
With the stands jam packed with fans, the Greyhounds won the opening tip-off, but neither team scored at first.
“I don’t think anyone scored a bucket for the first three minutes or so,” Head Coach Shelly Ethridge said.
The Lady Archers then opened the scoring with two straight threes from Shamara Glover, No. 33 sophomore forward, and Shamiah Oliver No. 12 sophomore guard. Glover had a stat line of 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Oliver scored 10 points, grabbed four rebounds and had a steal.
After those threes some turnovers stalled the Lady Archers’ offense for the rest of the quarter. Ethridge attributed these turnovers to the nerves and jitters the team had.
“Nerves played a huge part in it because we’ve been seeing a lot of pressure all season long; the nerves got the best of us early,” Ethridge said.
Elisha Davis No. three, a freshman point guard, who scored 15 points and had five assists, also admitted the team got out to a slow start.
“We started out kinda slow in the first quarter, but we knew by halftime we had to pick it up,” Davis said.
The score at the end of the first quarter was 12-6 in favor of the Greyhounds, thanks to an impressive buzzer-beating near half court shot from the Greyhounds. The Archers then responded by hitting two straight to tie the game early in the second quarter. Neither team scored much more for the rest of the second quarter.
One highlight of the quarter was a steal by Erica Waeltermann, No. 4 freshman point guard, who passed it to Erika Harvey, the No. 11 freshman guard. She finished with a layup while being fouled and made her free throw completing the three-point play. Waeltermann had a stat line of 5 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Harvey scored 15 points, had three rebounds, an assist and a steal.
At the half the Lady Archers were leading 26-25. The early portions of the third quarter remained tight but in typical Lady Archers fashion, they dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Greyhounds 28-14.
“Third quarter is our quarter that we shine every game,” Harvey said.
Ethridge said the defense was huge in building this lead. “Once we got settled in, our defense kept us in the game and then we got over that hump of scoring; after we are able to score it relieves a lot of pressure for us, [and] it is just momentum after that,” Ethridge said.
Harvey played a key role in building the lead by scoring several put-backs (shots missed by her teammates). “It was real important, coach always stresses about getting the weak side rebounds and being down there, just to grab the boards,” Harvey said.
Another player who helped to build the lead was No. 21 freshman forward Chrishana Wilson, who scored 15 points and grabbed a whopping 25 rebounds.
One play during the third quarter was a fast break by the Lady Archers where Davis made a behind-the-back pass to set up Waeltermann for an easy lay-up which made the crowd cheer.
“The last game I did it to Erica Waeltermann, I just wanted the crowd to go wild; let me set up with a behind-the-back pass,” Davis said.
The Lady Archers were up by 15 points at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter the Lady Archers continued to build the lead holding a 23 point lead at one point. The final score resulted in a Lady Archers victory, 77-56.
After the game the team celebrated as the crowd went nuts, and eventually the team all took turns cutting down the net in celebration of their victory.
The team as a whole was very excited for the victory and the upcoming national tournament. “It feels absolutely fabulous,” Ethridge said. “I’m so proud of this team and all of the accompliments that they achieved this season — it’s been since 2013 that we’ve been there so we’re glad to get back. They deserve to be going.”
Harvey was also very proud of her team’s development over the course of the season. “We started off a little slow at the beginning of the year, [but] we all came together as a team and as a family,” Harvey said.