After what was an incredible and record breaking football season for the university, it is safe to say that the same swagger rubbed off on the University of West Georgia’s basketball programs! The 2014-15 women’s basketball team had a successful year even though they didn’t make an appearance in the Division II NCAA tournament, but the sky is the limit for this team. With the recruitment and arrival of star forward Taylor Beverly, the Wolves added depth and excitement to the women’s team this year. The UWG senior standout Taylor Beverly was named Daktronics All-Region First Team, averaging a double-double throughout the year with 18.5 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per contest. The go-to player on the women’s team not only averaged a double-double, but she also broke a school record by finishing the season with an astonishing 17 double-doubles! At times, it seemed like Taylor Beverly and the boards were one in the same, anything that didn’t go in the basket fell into her hands. Beverly was the second-leading scorer in the Gulf South Conference this season, being one of two GSC players to make First Team. UWG had plenty of veteran Wolves surrounding Beverly, like big Seandre Lee who average 11 points and 4 rebounds per game; a mid-season knee injury would limit her impact down the stretch. Ball handling guards like Marion Lemonnier and big shot Nicole Fasick played their roles well and made their fair share of plays in the clutch.
One word to describe the future of the women’s basketball program, BRIGHT, just look at freshman guard Aysha Harris. With a figure standing at 5’8, her lanky wingspan makes her look 6’0 when defending opposing guards. She can get to any spot on the court that she so chooses, and towards the end of the season Harris found her groove in the college game. Harris scored 18 exciting points versus West Alabama, which was a career high at the time. However, Harris would break that mark the next game with a strong 19 points in the GSC tournament versus North Alabama. The Wolves would finish the season 19-11 overall, 12-9 in conference play, and a 12-3 record in the University Coliseum. UWG knows how to win games and play solid team defense. If Harris can continue her growth, she’ll lead the Wolves on the offensive end in the coming years.
When the men’s team began the 2014-15 season, many thought that size would be an issue for the Wolves down low, but when a team has two guards that can score at will, size doesn’t necessarily matter in today’s game. Led by Deonte Stocks and Alex Abreu the men’s team was able to finish the year with single-digits in the loss column, a final record of 22-9 overall; tied for the best single season record in the Michael Cooney era, and a share of the Gulf South Conference regular season championship.
The numbers don’t lie in the case of the big-two, or even big-three when streaky shooter Marcus Dortch got involved offensively. Gulf South Conference player of the year, Deonte Stocks, lead the Wolves and conference in scoring with 22.7 points per game. Stocks even hit the game-winner versus West Alabama to give Michael Cooney his first Division II NCAA tournament win in his career at the helm of the program. The transfer from the University of Akron, Alex Abreu, came to UWG and simply produced from anywhere on the floor. Passing or shooting didn’t matter, Abreu simply possess the ability to make plays for his team. Stocks and Abreu were lights out from downtown, however, when Marcus Dortch got the hot hand, he turned into Marcus Torch and points were scored in bunches! It seemed like a game of horse in the University Coliseum as all three men shot better than 40% from long range.
The men’s basketball team won 7 straight games at one point during the season, and 16-4 through their first 20 games. When the Wolves lost games, it was on the defensive end or a lack of shots made. Nonetheless, the Wolves now have tournament experience and chemistry within the team, they will definitely be one of the favorites to win the GSC next season and make a push for the big dance.
Go West! Go Wolves!