Friday, February 13, 2009
Katey Kingsbury returns page 8 Spirit Squad motivating fans Page 7
Homecoming double-header Saturday MEN
By tim devaney
By tim devaney
Your Sports editor
Your Sports editor
omorrow’s homecoming rematch with Davenport marks one of the biggest games of the season for the Cornerstone women’s basketball team.
he Golden Eagles are in a tight battle with Aquinas, Indiana Tech and Davenport for the WHAC regular season championship, and Saturday’s game with Davenport could play a decisive role in crowning the next conference champion.
The last time these teams played on Jan. 21, Cornerstone handed Davenport its only loss of the season. Guard Kara Overbeek hit three clutch 3-pointers late in the game to provide the knockout punch Cornerstone needed to steal a 95-81 victory from the then No. 3 team in the nation, which was the highest ranked team Cornerstone had ever beaten. “It was a big win because it’s the highest ranked team we’ve beaten in school history,” head coach Carla Fles said. “It also gave [Davenport] its first loss, and it kept us in first place in the conference. But as I told my girls, it’s still one game out of 30, and we still have to play every [conference] team a second time.” This time around, Davenport will have just the stage it needs to extract some revenge on the Golden Eagles. Heading into the game, CU (21-6 overall) is tied with Davenport (24-1 overall) for the WHAC lead at 10-1. Which ever team wins Saturday will have a decisive advantage in the race for the regular season conference championship and a step up in the conference tournament seedings. “Their team is going to be hungry,” Fles said. “So that places a little more of a target on our back.” The Davenport Panthers have quickly become Cornerstone’s biggest rival. Last season, Davenport snapped Cornerstone’s five-game winning streak early on. Then late in the season, Cornerstone knocked them off at Davenport on a last second possession when the Panthers failed to make three shot attempts in the final seconds. Throw in Cornerstone’s mid-season victory and that makes for a boiling rivalry. “It’s a good rivalry,” Fles said. “We want to be the best. Both of our programs want to be the best, not only in the conference, but also nationally. Beating them would be good.” The game is certain to make NAIA Division II national headlines as Davenport is ranked No. 4 in the nation,
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corbin donaldson: glides through the air on a breakaway layup.
The last time these two teams played on Jan. 21, Cornerstone lost on the final shot of the game, and the team is not about to let that happen again. “That was the worst that I have ever felt in a Cornerstone uniform after a loss,” captain Matt Kingshott said. “It was a really frustrating game. They played a solid game against us, and we just weren’t exactly all that ready for it. We just weren’t ready to match up with their intensity level.” “We battled the whole game. It’s tough having them win on the last second shot after we battled so much,” he added. It would have been easy for the team to look ahead to the next game with Davenport, but instead Cornerstone has been redeeming itself on a game-by-game basis without looking ahead to any big games down the road. “Every game is a big game for us,” Kingshott said. “We realize that these last few games are all we got. If we want to go to nationals, we have to definitely play several great games of basketball here. We have a do-or-die game each time out.” That level of focus has driven the Golden Eagles to a 12-3 record since midDecember, and they are 4-1 over the last three weeks since losing to Davenport. That includes a groundbreaking win at Aquinas on Jan. 28, which was the first time Cornerstone had won a regular season game at Aquinas in nearly four seasons. After dominating the first half, the Golden Eagles battled in the second half to squeeze by with a 73-69 victory, which high-
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Lady Golden Eagles clicking in time for championship
Once again, the women’s basketball team heads into the late season stretch playing its best basketball of the season and full of chemistry, but still with less respect than it deserves. This is not anything like last season. On paper fans would not notice it, but in the playbook and on the court this women’s team is much different than last year’s, and early on that caused plenty of chemistry problems. Sloppy offense, defensive breakdowns, miscommunication. Everything that made Cornerstone a success the year before was lacking, and fans would not have been blamed for giving up on the team. But after a rocky start, the Golden Eagles are clicking. The same qualities that thrived in last year’s team are beginning to sprout in this year’s team, and
Your Sports Editor
Cornerstone is finally starting to make it look easy again thanks to scrappy aggressiveness, smothering defense and timely shooting. The Golden Eagles have emerged as the WHAC favorites after knocking off Davenport 95-81 on the road. They sit atop the conference at 7-1 (17-6 over-
all), and any doubt about their post-season potential is shrinking in the rear-view mirror. “It was probably the biggest part of our conference season to beat [Davenport], because they were at the top, and now we are,” forward Brooke Carter said. “Now they know what we are about and are going to do, and we just have to do it one more time.” Cornerstone started the conference season very well at 7-1, and Carter is the X-factor that has turned the team around. While Jenna Plewes is the motor of the team and Kara Overbeek is the brains, Carter is the fuel that makes the engine run. She does everything – rebound, block, score from the post, shoot the midrange shot, pass. When she gets involved offensively, the team does well. But early in the season, she
was ignored while the team was transitioning to a new offensive system with a guard-based mentality. Now as the team is meshing with the new system, it has found a vital role for Carter in the post. “She needed to find her niche in how she would go about scoring, and she’s been doing a really good job in the last few weeks,” coach Carla Fles said. “It’s a matter of if she puts her heart and full effort into it. She’s capable of being a dominating player.” To add to the mix, the veteran backcourt is shooting well, which will be essential to a deep tournament run. Overbeek drilled three clutch 3-pointers against Davenport. But as Carter said after the Siena Heights game, “Defense comes first.” The Golden Eagles have dominated key possessions with their
suffocating defense that forces steals and blocks. When opponents do get shots off they are usually forced, and thanks to the team’s ability to clean up the boards, it plays right into Cornerstone’s hands. “I am thrilled to be in the position we’re at right now,” Fles said. As well as the Golden Eagles are playing, the rest of the season will not be easy. Cornerstone still plays Aquinas and Davenport again, and all three will duke it out for the WHAC crown. Cornerstone can take its next step toward a championship by sweeping the season series with Davenport tommorow. It is not too late to be part of what could be a championship season for the women’s basketball team. Sure, you can’t make every game, and maybe you haven’t watched any this season, but
Athlete spotlight: Ronald bates, freshman basketball player Sport: basketball
Major: Secondary Ed with mathematics
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Started playing basketball: when he was seven years old.
Best game: High school against West Catholic scored 32 points in three quarters- busted his lip, his tooth went through his lip and his trainer told him he needed to go the hospital, but Ronald said “no I don’t. I need to be back out there on that court”
Started playing basketball: to stay off the streets. Five Facts: good dancer, good friend, math genius, love basketball, crazy hair (dreadlocks for the last year and a half).
bio box • Tim Devaney is a CU junior majoring in journalism. • He is from Fort Kent, Maine • He once caught a baseball with his knees to win the little league championship • Tim’s favorite athlete is Barry Sanders, the best running back ever!
you can make this one. And the women’s team needs you there, not just for the men’s game, but for their game too. So rip out the back page, sign on this newspaper and wave it around at the game, throw on some face paint, grab your friends, and come ready to have a blast at homecoming weekend.
Published on May 17, 2009