Women's Basketball Recaps Record-Setting 2011-2012 Campaign
CLINTON, S.C. - The Presbyterian College women's basketball team gathered last week to recognize its student-athletes with team awards and recap the team's 2011-12 season, its most successful season since moving to Division I.
The Blue Hose finished the year with a 14-15 record and an 8-10 record in the Big South Conference, marking the most wins since 2005-06 and the most Big South wins ever in a single season.
The campaign saw the Blue Hose set numerous individual records. Mariah Pietrowski (Elizabethton, Tenn.) became PC's Division I-era (since 2007-08) leader in points and rebounds, with 942 points and 470 boards. Pietrowski led the team in points (11.5) and rebounds (5.6) per game, taking home the team's Best Offensive Player award. The junior ranked third in the Big South Conference in shooting percentage (50.6 percent) and set tied the team's D-I record in single-game points, with 26 against Charleston Southern on March 5.
Dria David (Lawrenceville, Ga.) earned the Best Defensive Player award. The junior averaged two steals per game (ranking 10th in the Big South Conference) and maintained a 0.9 assist/turnover ratio. David also climbed to third in Division I points, with 667, and finished third in the Big South in free-throw percentage (77.3 percent).
Sherece Smith (Clemson, S.C.) received the E.A.T. (Effort, Attitude and Teamwork) Award and the Academic Award for her unwavering work ethic and willingness to play any position over the course of the season, as well as her nearly-flawless grade point average. Smith led the team in rebounds for much of the season and started all 29 games, one of only two players to accomplish that feat.
The team's Most Improved Award went to Devin Fothergill (Somerset, Ky.). Fothergill increased her scoring output by three full points per game from 2010-11 and set new career-highs in blocks (seven), rebounds (2.4 per game) and shooting percentage (38.9), including grabbing 17 rebounds against Coastal Carolina on March 2 for a new Division I single-game record.
Chelsea Parker (Asheville, N.C.) and Karlee Taylor (Asheville, N.C.) earned Brave Heart Awards for their toughness in battling back from injuries. Parker enjoyed a career year in her third season, setting new highs in points (3.4 per game), steals (14), blocks (10) and assists (23). Taylor was named to the Big South All-Academic Team and ranked fourth in the Big South in three-pointers made (2.2 per game) and sixth in field goal percentage (36.4 percent).
The team also distributed awards for its five captains, Kristen Stevens (Pickerington, Ohio), David, Pietrowski, Smith and Taylor. Stevens, the team's lone senior, broke the Division I minutes record, with 2,760, en route to reaching fifth all-time in three pointers made (142) and second on the Division I list.
In addition to the team's 14 wins, the Blue Hose jumped 69 spots in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) from 2010-11 and led the Big South in scoring defense, averaging only 56.2 points allowed per contest. The Blue Hose also ranked second in rebounding defense (35.3 percent) and third in field goal percentage defense (38.1 percent).
PC won six of its last nine games, including putting together the longest winning streak in its D-I history and its longest road winning streak as well.
The season began with a 58-42 defeat on the road at Charlotte despite trailing by only three at halftime. The 49ers went on to compile a 16-14 record en route to a trip to the WNIT.
The Blue Hose returned to Clinton to open its home schedule against Furman, taking a 22-18 lead into halftime before the Paladins pulled out a 63-47 win. The game marked the first of Mariah Pietrowski's 15 double-digit scoring performances as the junior posted 16 points.
PC picked up its first win of the season with a 65-28 performance over Allen. The Blue Hose allowed a Division I-era best five points in the second half and Megan Schaaf (Ellicott City, Md.) led the team with a career-high seven rebounds. Pietrowski also set a new career high in steals (four) and David tied a career high in assists, with eight.
The Blue Hose followed the Allen win up with a thrilling road victory over South Carolina State, 53-50. Four players scored in double figures and PC fought off an 11-0 opening Bulldog run and a 29-24 halftime deficit, taking its first lead with 10:01 left in the game and holding off SC State for the win.
PC stayed on road for two tough contests, falling to then-No. 16 North Carolina and South Carolina. The Blue Hose held North Carolina 30 points below its lowest output of the season at the time and limited the Tar Heels to 37.7 percent shooting from the floor. Against the Gamecocks, PC did not allow a South Carolina field goal for a span of 8:44, a stretch that crossed into both halves and saw the Gamecocks miss 11 straight shots. South Carolina ended its season with a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Hose recovered by rattling off four straight wins against NC Central (64-48), USC Upstate (72-64), Columbia College (92-45) and Montreat (84-44). PC knocked down a season-high 25 free throws to knock off USC Upstate before setting numerous D-I records against Columbia, including points scored. PC posted 50 points in the first half and grabbed 54 rebounds as five players scored in double figures. Noelle Carter (Neptune, N.J.) had her most productive game in her freshman season, tallying six points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Olivia Towers-Solis (Dacula, Ga.) tallied season-highs in points (six) and assists.
The team closed its homestand with a win over Montreat in which five players scored in double figures for the second straight game.
PC then headed to Alabama, one of two Southeastern Conference opponents on the schedule. Dria David scored a career-high 17 points in the contest and PC held a 28-21 lead at halftime before the Crimson Tide rallied to win, 65-47. Mariah Pietrowski also took over the Division I scoring lead in the game, scoring her 723rd career point, while Shonda Burnside (Gray Court, S.C.) moved to 10th place all-time in blocks.
The Alabama game marked the end of non-conference play as PC kicked off its Big South Conference schedule against Charleston Southern on New Year's Eve. Burnside dished out a career-high five assists and the Blue Hose shot a season-high 54.9 percent but Charleston Southern's 12 three-pointers proved too much as the Bucs took a 76-67 victory.
Narrow losses to Coastal Carolina (52-49) and Winthrop (70-62) followed before the Blue Hose grabbed their first Big South victory with a home win over Gardner-Webb, 54-43. The home side blocked a D-I-era record eight shots while Parker scored a career-high 12 points and Burnside grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds in the win.
PC then earned its second straight win with a 62-54 victory over UNC Asheville. Sherece Smith grabbed 15 rebounds, a new career high for the sophomore. PC earned the win on the defensive end, forcing the Bulldogs to shoot 34 percent from the floor turn the ball over 19 times. David also took over the team's D-I assists record, with 186.
The Blue Hose dropped its next four games despite holding three of its four opponents to under 60 points, falling to Liberty (59-39), Radford (53-29), Campbell (53-44) and High Point (63-51). Pietrowski scored her 800th point and collected her 400th career rebound against Liberty while PC outrebounded (25-24) and outshot (42.9 percent to 40.9 percent) Campbell.
PC answered the skid with four consecutive wins, taking the first three on the road. The streak marked the longest in the program's Division I history and the three road wins marked the longest such streak as well.
The Blue Hose first knocked off Winthrop, 63-60. PC overcame a 10-point second-half deficit thanks to 20 points from Mariah Pietrowski and a career-high 19 points from Kristen Stevens. Stevens set a new high-water mark with five three pointers and Pietrowski scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half to help the Blue Hose to the win.
The squad followed the Winthrop win with a dominating performance over UNC Asheville. PC began the contest by going on a 16-0 run and led by as many as 26 in the second half to roll past the Bulldogs, 62-45. Mariah Pietrowski led the Blue Hose with 17 points and matched a season-high with eight rebounds. Additionally David scored her 600th career point, Taylor notched her 400th and Burnside grabbed her 300th rebound in the victory.
PC then knocked off Gardner-Webb on the road in overtime, 59-57. Sherece Smith scored three points in the final 10 seconds of overtime to help the Blue Hose earn the win. Smith led the team with 15 points and seven assists while Karlee Taylor added 13 points in PC's only overtime game of the season. Pietrowski also tallied five rebounds to take over the program's D-I rebounding crown, with 434.
The squad capped the four-game run with its first-ever win over Radford, 52-49. Kristen Stevens scored PC's final five points, including a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining, to lift the team to victory. The result established a new single-season record for most Big South wins in a season, with six.
Opponents took the next three games, with defeats against Liberty (69-64), High Point (60-53) and Campbell (68-44). The Liberty effort marked PC's closest-ever loss to the Flames as PC launched a late comeback bid, scoring 11 points in the final 1:16.
The Blue Hose returned home for their final two games of the season. Coastal Carolina visited first and PC made its Senior Night one to remember for Stevens, as the home side took a 56-52 win. Devin Fothergill grabbed a D-I-era record 17 rebounds and posted nine points. The defense held the Chanticleers to 28.1 percent shooting in the second half.
The season ended in style against Charleston Southern as Pietrowski tied a Division I-era record with 26 points as the Blue Hose knocked off the Buccaneers, 77-68. The result gave PC its first win over Charleston Southern since January 2, 1990, a span of eight straight losses. The Blue Hose took a seven-point lead into halftime and never let go en route to the victory.