By Tyler D. Whetstone
On a day when back to back national champion Union University was upset on a buzzer beater for their first lost in the past 61 TranSouth games, the Lady Trojans (11-11, 8-3) took care of business at home versus rival Cumberland University.
The win gave the Lady Trojans their fourth straight win, and placed them at .500 for the first time since they were 1-1.
For Head Coach Gary Van Atta, the season has been one of two halves.
The first half, the Lady Trojans began the year 3-8 due in large to a difficult schedule and their youth, having just one senior. The latter half, they have won eight of 11 and have made the push to possibly receive votes for the top 25 again.
The ship may be righted, but there is still plenty of basketball left to be played. If the Lady Trojans are searching for votes, the rest of the nation and Van Atta will see in what sort of shape they really are.
Three of their next six games are against top 10 opponents two of the three, including No. 1 Union University will be on the road.
“We really have to focus on one game at a time. I can’t get this team to focus on anything other than the next game. If I try to do anything more than that, we’re going to struggle,” said Van Atta.
Ironically, much of the Lady Trojans recent success has come courtesy of the team’s slow start which allowed Van Atta to put in younger girls that weren’t ready at the time.
Given significant playing time early, it is not uncommon for Van Atta to run three freshmen on the court at a given time.
Because of this, the Lady Trojans have a deep bench that recently outscored Cumberland’s 34-6.
Also, the Lady Trojans defense has been one of the best Van Atta coached defenses at Trevecca forcing opponents to commit an average of 22 turnovers a game.
“We’re going to nickname our defense Jaws, because just when you think it’s safe to get back in the water…Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun,” said Van Atta. “The last team I had that played defense this well made it to the national championship…So I’m hoping that there’s some repeat history in there somewhere.”
In order to think national tournament, the Lady Trojans must either be in the top 25 on seasons end or be one of the top seven vote getters in order to make it to the 32 team pool.
“Our backs are to the wall. Kind of like a cat or a tiger trying to claw our way out,” said Van Atta.
It’s been that way all season long, and that’s just fine for them.