|
|
|
The Shawnee News-Star
  • Former Shawnee players to take part in NCAA tourney

  • A year after helping Shawnee High School’s girls’ program complete its first-ever undefeated and state-title season, two former SHS standouts will join their respective teams in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend.
    • email print
      Comment
  • A year after helping Shawnee High School’s girls’ program complete its first-ever undefeated and state-title season, two former SHS standouts will join their respective teams in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend.
     
    Taylor Cooper, a true freshman at Oral Roberts University, will take the court with the Golden Eagles as they face host and Oklahoma City Regional second-seeded Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
     
    On Sunday, with a 3:20 p.m. tipoff, Cooper’s former teammate and true freshman Kelsee Grovey will join the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in taking on host and top-seeded Stanford in the Spokane Regional.
     
    Tulsa is seeded 16th in the Spokane Regional, and ORU is seeded 15th in the Oklahoma City Regional.
     
    As seniors, Grovey and Cooper led Shawnee’s Lady Wolves to a 29-0 season in 2011-12. It was Shawnee’s first-ever undefeated season, and was the first time the Lady Wolves claimed a Class 5A state championship.
     
    “We’re really proud of them, and excited that they were able to have such a tremendous year and top it off by going to the NCAA tournament,” said Wendi Wells, head coach of the Shawnee Lady Wolves. “Our coaching staff is really excited to see them play this weekend.”
     
    Both the Tulsa-Stanford game and the ORU-Tennessee game will be televised on ESPN2.
     
    Grovey and Cooper were instrumental in helping their respective teams reach conference championships this season. The Golden Hurricane went 4-0 in the Conference USA Tournament to reap their title, and the Golden Eagles were 2-0 for a Southland Conference crown. Tulsa defeated C-USA members Rice (74-52), Tulane (75-67), East Carolina (72-59) and University of Central Florida (75-66) to take the conference title, while Oral Roberts recorded victories over SLC members McNeese State (79-66) and Sam Houston State (72-66).
     
    Grovey started in all four of the conference tournament games and averaged 11.75 points and two rebounds. Cooper also started throughout ORU’s conference tournament stay, where she averaged 10.5 points and seven rebounds.
     
    Grovey, who averaged more than 13 points per game in high school, has averaged more than 10 points per game at Tulsa this season. Cooper has also averaged over 10 points this season, and had three 20-point outings. In her regular-season debut with the Golden Eagles (Nov. 9, 2012), she notched five 3-point field goals and finished with 19 points.
     
    “I couldn’t imagine spending my spring break any differently,” Cooper said of going to the NCAA tournament. “It’s been one of our goals all year, to make it to the NCAA tournament… it’s another blessing for me.
    Page 2 of 2 -  
    “And, we get to play Tennessee, one of the most historic teams in the NCAA. You’ve just got to go out and give it all you’ve got.”
     
    Tulsa (16-16) and Oral Roberts (18-12) will be joined by Oklahoma’s two other NCAA Division I representatives in making appearances at the 2013 tournament. The University of Oklahoma (22-10), seeded sixth in the Oklahoma City Regional, will face 11th-seeded Central Michigan at 10:10 a.m. Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Seventh-seeded Oklahoma State (21-10) will take on 10th-seeded DePaul at 1:35 p.m. at Durham, N.C., in the Norfolk Regional.
     
    “It’s pretty awesome” that all four teams earned berths, Cooper said, “and it’s even more special for me and Kelsee because we got to play for the same high school. We get to represent Shawnee and Coach Wells.”
     
    “It’s really exciting,” Grovey said. “The first goal was to win conference, and after we accomplished that, it still hasn’t hit me that we’re going to the NCAA tournament. I’m just really excited about it. It’s not every day that you get to play a big name like Stanford.”
    Grovey said this will be “a great experience and a blessing” for she and Cooper.
     
    Grovey was named to this year’s C-USA All-Freshmen Team, and Cooper is All-Southland Conference honorable mention.
     
    Note: Some information provided by Oral Roberts University, the University of Tulsa and the Tulsa World.

        calendar