Feb. 24, 2012
Seniors need win and help for KC return
By David Boyce
Before facing Southwest Baptist Tuesday evening, Northwest Missouri State coach Gene Steinmeyer asked seniors Abby Henry, Shelly Martin and Tara Roach to talk to the rest of the team.
Steinmeyer wanted the seniors to tell the freshmen what it means to reach Kansas City for the MIAA Tournament.
“It is the best Division II Tournament in the country,” Steinmeyer said. “I think they did a really good job of emphasizing that.”
The Bearcats absolutely had to win at Baptist to keep their hope alive of garnering the eighth spot in the conference tournament.
“Everybody came out really ready to play,” Steinmeyer said. “It meant the same to Southwest Baptist. They are still in it. They could have gotten rid of us by beating us.
“I told my team that the one who wants to play in postseason more was going to win the game. We came out and did that.”
The seniors’ message to the underclassmen must have been a powerful one. The Bearcats shot 48 percent and beat Baptist 75-61. Henry led the way with 24 points.
Northwest enters its final regular-season game at home Saturday against Missouri Southern with a realistic shot at reaching the MIAA Tournament. If the Bearcats win and Missouri Western loses at home to Southwest Baptist, Northwest advances to the conference tournament.
Despite a rough season, which is in stark contrast to last year’s magical run to the NCAA Division II Final Four, Henry, Martin and Roach have never given up on this season.
It’s a testament to their character. Northwest is 6-15 overall this season and 4-15 in conference play. Henry, Martin and Roach are playing with the same kind of zeal as last season.
When the final buzzer sounds at Bearcat Arena Saturday afternoon, the three will walk away with many fond memories and moments they will cherish for a lifetime.
“The perfect scenario,” said Steinmeyer, “is Tara comes off the bench and sparks us and the two guards dominate on offense and carry us to Kansas City.”
Whatever occurs, Steinmeyer knows the three players gave his program a lot over the years.
“Shelly has been the consistent one because she has been healthy her whole career,” Steinmeyer said. “She set the standard for three-point shooting. She has been a constant threat from the perimeter.”
“Abby’s first year she had to rehab her knee. She had to overcome a lot. Last year she gave up a lot of scoring for the team to be successful.
“Nobody has had more ups and downs than Tara. Her perfect role is what she can do coming off the bench to spark the team.”
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