UWA Lady Tigers ready for first trip to NCAA tournament

By Staff
BATTLE University of West Alabama freshman Tausha Evans, center, fights for a loose ball in a game earlier this season. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
March 7, 2002
CLEVELAND The West Alabama of West Alabama makes its first appearance in an NCAA Division II Women's Tournament here tonight at Walter Sillers Coliseum in the South Regional.
Coach Amanda Marks' Lady Tigers (22-5) will take on Central Arkansas (22-6) at 8 p.m. in a first-round game of the six-team regional. Arkansas Tech (24-5) battles Fort Valley State at 6 p.m. in the tournament opener.
A win by the Lady Tigers would move them into a regional semifinal game against 11-time South Regional Champion host Delta State (24-5) at 8 p.m. Florida Tech is the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will await the Arkansas Tech-Fort Valley State winner at 6 p.m. on Friday.
The Lady Tigers have already played Central Arkansas this season, squaring off in the season's second game at Conway, Ark. The Sugar Bears won 82-64.
Marks says her team has made vast improvements since that meeting.
Walker, Harris and sophomore forward Bekka Middleton were all named to the All-GSC Western Division team. Harris is UCA's leading scorer at 17.7 points per game and adds 4.4 assists.
Middleton pumps in 15.8 points and 8 rebounds a game while Walker adds 13.7 ppg., and 10.2 rebounds.
The Lady Tigers will counter behind two All-GSC East selections in senior guard Thelma Hearn and freshman guard Tausha Evans.
Hearn, a Central Academy grad out of Macon, averages 11.6 points and leads the team in assists with 74.
Evans, who prepped at Neshoba Central in Philadelphia, is the team's top scorer at 14.6 ppg., and has made 34 three-point field goals. She is also shooting 78.9 percent from the line.
A big reason behind the Lady Tigers surge since a mini two-game slump, has been the play in the post. UWA has won nine out of its last 10 games. The only loss was to Delta State (73-64) in the semifinals of last week's GSC Tournament in Tupelo.
Cooper is the team's third leading scorer at 10.8 ppg., and she adds 5.9 rebounds. She is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 76.6 percent from the line.
Pete chips in 9.2 points and 6.3 boards per game. She is a 6-foot junior post.
Rounding out the line-up is guard Nikki Jones. She is averaging 7.8 points a game. The top reserves are Lori Weber, Summer King and Heidi Barnes.