|Lady Spartans Advance to HCAC Tournament
Manchester’s women’s basketball team had a strong season, and is moving on to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament. The team won its games Wednesday, February 13, and Saturday, February 16, against Anderson University and Earlham College, respectively.
Playing Anderson determined whether Manchester made the HCAC tournament. “The game against Anderson was a must win game,” said Head Coach Josh Dzurick. “We really needed the win. By winning we still have a shot in the tournament.”
“Plus, it was against our rival, Anderson,” said sophomore player Shelby Morphew.
Manchester was two games ahead of Anderson and eliminated the Ravens from the competition by their victory on Wednesday. Team captains Erynn Meiklejohn and Abby Lang scored the most points during the game against Anderson.
Motivation has been a challenge for the team, as there are no seniors on the team. “Seniors bring that sense of energy, but we had a great crowd last night,” Dzurick said.
Morphew agreed. “We’ve struggled at home this year,” Morphew said. “It helps being here having the pep band and students here —including the Whiteout.”
This season, the women’s basketball team has had 15 games that came down to the last two minutes – and that is of the 17 conference games Manchester played. “One play here or there has turned the tide of the game,” Dzurick said.
During the season, the team worked on correcting mistakes and learning from experience. “We’ve had to play on the fly a little bit,” Dzurick said.
Before Saturday’s game, the players created a video, as is tradition. This time they created a video to the Harlem Shake, a well-known dance. “It’s pretty much what we do before every game,” Morphew said. “We have a huge stereo system in the locker room, so we turn it on and go crazy.”
Manchester won Saturday’s game, 61-43 against Earlham. The top scorer was captain Erynn Meiklejohn, with 12 points scored. Meiklejohn’s average from the past two games was 16 points. Two other players, Jocelyn Hamilton and Caitlyn Ailor, scored nine and eight points, respectively. Alyssa Smith contributed six assists to the game.
Sophomore player Shelby Morphew played her final game on Saturday. She received a standing ovation at the game. “I’ve had multiple concussions and I’m being forced to retire at the end of the season – so I’m just soaking up the experience,” she said. “I’m taking in the last week and a half as a player and not a spectator.”
The HCAC postseason tournament will begin Friday, February 22, at 6 p.m. at the Beck Center on the Transylvania University campus in Lexington, Ky., where Manchester will take on Defiance College. The winner will move on to play against Transylvania in the semifinals on Saturday, February 23, at 3 p.m.