The current Ohio Valley Conference record of Tech’s women’s basketball team is an unprecedented 2-13. The lack of success in conference play resulted in an uncharacteristically missing the Ohio Valley Conference tournaments for the Golden Eagles.
This year marks only the second year in the program’s 44-year history that the tournament for the OVC women’s crown and a National Collegiate Athletics Association tournament birth will not include the Golden Eagles. Tech possesses the 10th most-winning women’s basketball program in NCAA history.
Just a year ago, the team finished third in the OVC and made a deep run in the conference tournament before being ousted in the championship game by the University of Tennessee at Martin. Tech came into this season expecting to finish in the top tier of the conference after OVC analysts predicted in the preseason for them to be in the top four in the conference; but 28 games and 23 losses later, the Golden Eagles have one game remaining in the regular season.
While Tech basketball fans have been desperate to see a spark of hope all season long, I may be able to provide a few. This season may be a loss but the 2015-2016 season could see the program return to their winning ways.
Some may ask ‘Why?’ First, junior college transfer Samaria Howard will be returning for the Golden Eagles. Howard has been a light of hope for the team all year long. She has gone into double digits scoring in every game so far this season except for five. Howard is averaging 15.2 points a game, which leads the team. She has received three OVC Newcomer of the Week awards.
Another reason the Golden Eagles could see a turn around is because of returning talent and size. Returning players Tia Nicholson, Marina Ruiz, Asia Harper and Mariah Dean are all 6 feet or taller. Size combined with experience will be a dangerous combination. With a bigger lineup, Tech can be more physical and crash the boards on their opponents. With the experience they have garnered, the grind of the OVC will be familiar and less strenuous.
The Golden Eagles also have the advantage of having an experienced head coach in charge. Jim Davis entered his 27th year as a head coach this year and his contract has been extended by Tech until 2019. Future players and recruits are always attracted to stability in a program that will only improve the Golden Eagles in the future. Davis’ coaching career includes an 18-year span at Clemson University. While at Clemson, he earned two Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year awards and led the Tigers to 532 all-time victories, the most by any coach in Clemson history.
With great experience, leadership and coaching returning for the Golden Eagles, there is a lot of certainty around this program that is well deserved. The 2015-2016 edition of the Golden Eagles should return them to the program’s winning ways.