North Carolina Newspapers

    The Compass Friday, Novembers, 1995 13
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The plAce ThAT VNTied Me like a Tiqhr lirrle kNOT
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YtlslfAWNdA TkoMAS
CIAA Cinderellas,..
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Talented Viking team^@
determined to win ^
NCAA Tournament
by Tonia Polston
The new Cinderella team in the CIAA
this year is the ECSU Lady Vikings.
This determined basketball team hit
the floor running on Oct. 15th, the first
official day of basketball practice.
Along with last year's returnees, there
are nine new members of the Lady Vi
king basketball team. The 1995-96 Vi
king team is the first recruiting class
that head coach Vanessa Taylor has put
into action.
"The new faces display a lot of tal
ent," said Taylor, of her freshmen and
coUege transfers. This year's team will
be more competitive due to the previ
ous coUege experience that the jimior
college transfer students have, she
Two returning starters, Tracy EUiot
and Joan Sharpe, from EUzabeth City
and Ahoskie respectively, will play key
roles in the team's game plan accord
ing to Coach Taylor. She also expects to
get quality minutes from returnees
Tanisha Gabriel, Nikki Heyward, and
Tia Settle.
"I feel this team has a great deal of
unity and heart," said newcomer Tif
fany Shevawn "Naughty" Palmer. "We
can go a long way if we just put our
best foot forward."
Coach Taylor believes that last year
the team won because the players' atti
tudes toward winning and losing
changed. "They played hard, like they
thought they should win," she said.
The Lady Vikings improved their
record from 4-20 in the 1993-94 season
to 9-5 in the 1994-95 season.
"Last year's team built strength and
togetherness," said shooting guard
Joan (M.J.) Sharpe. "We all shared one
common goal: to end the reputation
we had as a losing team. With this
year's team there's only one thing on
my mind—winning."
Winning seems to be the mainstay in
the Lady Vikes' minds. Their motto of
"CIAA watches and matching rings"
suggests that the Lady Vikes are deter
mined to win.
"I feel that our team can win the
CIAA because the talent is there," said
Tana Burston, a junior transfer. "We
just have to put it together. We aU have
the desire and the determination to win
and go to the big dance (the NCAA
Division II Tournament).
Coach Taylor has been impressed by
the ladies' hard work in the pre-season
workouts, which are also directed by
assistant coach Janie Coefield. Many
of the Lady Vikings joined the cross
country team to help increase their en
durance and stamina levels.
"Intensity of workouts for pre-sea
son has increased tremendously," said
Taylor. She beUeves that the players
welcome this change because they
know that in order to win they must
work harder—on and off the court.
The "coaching staff expects the same
level of intensity in the classroom as
on the court," said Taylor. "No Books,
No Ball."
Every day players must attend man
datory study haU from 6:30-8:30 p.m.,
she added.
Players say they are pleased by the
emphasis on their education.
"ECSU stressed the student part of
Ufe in the term 'student-athlete,'" said
freshman forward Monique "Morue"
Boyce. "When (I was) being recruited,
other schools talked more about ath
letics and their programs, disregard
ing the value and importance of a good
This season. Coach Taylor wiU try
for better pressure defense and a more
up-tempo offense. By keeping the
tempo of the game high, the coaching
staff will be shooting for a rotation in
which each player receives at least eight
minutes of playing time per game.
Coach Taylor also said that the team
wants to add a little more "razzle-
dazzle" with their upbeat performance
to involve the crowds.
Last year, the support from the Vi
king fans "was welcome by coaches,
coaching staff, and the athletic depart
ment," said Taylor. With a new year
and a new team, the Lady Vikings
would like to encourage everyone to
attend home games.
"AU wiU be surprised at the 1995-
1996 Lady Viking basketball team,"
said Boyce. "We'll be coming out full
As Coach Taylor says in a commer
cial promo, 'Look out CIAA. The heat
is on!'"
"... This team has a great deal of unity and heart. We can
go a long way if we just put our best foot forward."
— Tiffany Palmer

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