Lady Crusaders strive for fourth playoff spot
Jan29

Lady Crusaders strive for fourth playoff spot

With six games left this season, the Lady Cru basketball team is fighting to book a spot into the conference playoffs.  The Lady Cru are currently in fifth place in the West Division in the latest ASC Standings with an overall record of 4-14 and 3-10 in conference play. The women are only one game behind Texas Lutheran University for the fourth place playoff spot. Women’s Head Basketball Coach Lisa Curliss-Taylor expressed the significance in the remaining game this season. “Every game is important for us to make the playoffs. Every minute on the floor is important, and every possession is important. When we break it down game by game, we also have to break it down to the minutes in the game. We have to have that sense of urgency to do what it takes to get to the postseason,” she said. Sophomore exercise and sport science major Taylor Tucker agrees with Curliss-Taylor. “We are trying to continue to motivate ourselves and each other to push harder every day, so we can improve our record and advance to the postseason. We establish every day our primary goal, which is to advance to the playoffs, and we try to fight through adversity, such as losses,” she said. The Lady Cru will have to depend on their relationships with each other as a strength to help secure a playoff bid. Having an off and on-court relationship with teammates will help benefit the team. Freshman pre-physical therapy major Tori Tucker and junior cell biology major Katelyn Smith both describe their team. “We all have a great off- the-court relationship. We hang out every day at the upperclassmen’s apartments and sometimes go out to dinner. We cook for each other, as well as attend movies as a team. We gel off the court just as much as we do on the court,” Tucker said. “We spend a lot of time out of practice together just hanging out. It really helps build team chemistry.” Smith said. The Lady Cru have begun their six-game road trip and are currently 2-2. The team started off the series by taking on Texas Lutheran University. The women lost in a nail-biting 61-59 defeat. The team bounced back, however, and won against Schreiner University 68-59. They then traveled to Sul Ross State University where they won 72-56. Three Cru players scored in double digits to drive through the Lobos with a commanding win. The women recently fell to Howard Payne with a 74-84 final. The team will take on Concordia University today at 5:30 p.m. in Austin  in a crucial ASC West division match-up. The women lost to...

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Men’s basketball enjoys wins during holidays
Jan08

Men’s basketball enjoys wins during holidays

The fall semester has come and gone, and students are returning to campus ready to start the spring semester after a nice long break in December. However, while most students were enjoying the break, the Cru basketball teams continued their seasons, and the men went undefeated during the month of December. The team maintained an eight-game win streak, which gave an 8-2 record at the end of the month. Although asking these students to commit so much of their time over the Christmas holidays may seem challenging, men’s basketball answered that call big time. “Basketball student-athletes is the only group that the sport spans the two (spring and fall) long academic semesters,” men’s basketball Head Coach Ken DeWeese said. “They are on campus practicing, playing or traveling to play through Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It’s just the way it is. Some athletes and some teams handle it better than others.” Their season also has an extended amount of time in both semesters, making staying for the break between an even greater show of dedication by these student athletes. “It is hard playing through both semesters because you have to fi nd time in order to do school work and get through practices,” senior computer information systems major Brian Todd said. “You’re also missing class for road games during both semesters instead of just one.” Having such a long season and always playing well is quite a challenge, but it is one that these student athletes tackle every year. Keeping their goals in sight is a key to their motivation during holiday play. “Staying focused is what keeps us able to maintain a high level of play,” Todd said. “Game day is game day. The focus on that day is to get prepared to do what we have to do to win.” The Cru played stellar basketball through the holiday season despite only having a small break for Christmas. DeWeese said that good practices with a good learning environment helped the Cru maintain a high level during the semester break. “It’s pretty challenging playing through December because everyone is at home on Christmas break, but we are still playing,” junior business management major James Allen said. “Coach just keeps us focused during practice and games.” The eight-game win streak began before players had their abbreviated Christmas holiday, so when they returned to the season, maintaining that momentum was no easy task. “This year coming back from that break, we had one of our best practices,” Todd said. “I believe everyone enjoyed their break but also realized what we had to do and where we left off when we came back...

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Cru football finishes strong
Jan08

Cru football finishes strong

The  football team has finished its season by repeating the second best run in the school’s football program. It ended with an overall record of 13-1, tying 2004 for the most wins in a season. The Crusaders fell to the Mount Union Purple Raiders in the Division III National Football Championship semifinals 48-35 Dec. 8. Graduate Assistant Coach Derrick Williams has been a part of the football program for eight years. He said, “With finishing 13-1 and coming up short to compete for the National Championship, we realized that this football team had leadership emerge at the right times. We wouldn’t have made the run that we did if it wasn’t for our senior class. I have been around this program for eight years, and to see these guys grow into great leaders, just made this season even more exciting.” With 7:39 left in the game, the Cru went up 35-28 off a three-yard quarterback run by LiDarral Bailey. The Purple Raiders answered with a touchdown of their own, tying the game 35-35 with 3:42 left in regulation. Mount Union then forced another stop and charged down the field on a game-winning drive to go up 42-35 with only five seconds remaining. The Cru drew up one last play, but the Purple Raiders forced a fumble and scored another touchdown to end the game. The Cru lost 48-35 in the closest game Mount Union faced all year. Mount Union went on to conquer the Division III National Championship Stagg Bowl, defeating the St. Thomas Tommies 28-10. The Cru defeated Louisiana College, Franklin College and Wesley College before falling to Mount Union. The semifinal showing was the third time the Crusaders have appeared in the national semifinals. In 2004, they made it to the Division III National Championship Stagg Bowl, but lost to Linfield College 28-21. Junior exercise and sport science major Andy McAteer said the season was special. “As a team, we grew week by week. Every day we could literally see it in motion. We were led by a great group of seniors, and without them it wouldn’t be possible. Having said that our goal was to win the Stagg Bowl, it’s up to the seniors to lead for next year.” Seniors LiDarral Bailey, Javicz Jones and Sam Maxie will suit up to play one more game and represent the Crusaders. Each player was selected to compete in this year’s inaugural Dream Bowl at Salem Stadium in Roanoke, Va., Jan. 21. It features the best NCAA Division III and NAIA players across the country. A senior sports management major, Jones is honored to be chosen to play in...

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Texas teams in close quarters within division
Nov16

Texas teams in close quarters within division

By Cody Weems It’s no secret that Texas is a football state. However, all three of the state’s NBA teams are looking to make Texas a force to reckon with in the basketball landscape. The three division foes are set to battle it out for a spot atop the Southwestern Division of the Western Conference. The ageless Spurs are favored by many to repeat as division champions, but the biggest question mark the team faces is whether or not players can stay healthy for an entire season. Guard Manu Ginobili, who missed significant time last season with a broken hand, was already sidelined for the first two games due to a back injury. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has said he intends to limit the playing time of 36-year-old Tim Duncan, but as he told ESPN’s Andrew McNeill, Duncan has an ability to make the most of his minutes. “It’s just a credit to his professionalism, his character, his understanding of the human body and that there are only so many steps and years you have,” Popovich said. “He’s taken the best advantage he possibly can to extend that as long as he can.” San Antonio made a statement in their second game of the season by defeating Oklahoma City, the defending Western Conference champions. While the road to the NBA Finals may run through San Antonio, Dallas is looking to bounce back after a disappointing season. Last year, the defending champs sneaked into the playoffs only to be swept in the first round by the Thunder. The Mavericks are more than capable of competing for a championship but are forced to start the year without Dirk Nowitzki. The 11-time All-Star underwent arthroscopic knee surgery prior to the start of the season and isn’t expected to return for at least six weeks. Nowitzki told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that it’s up to his teammates to step up in his absence. “The boys need to find a way to win some games, sometimes with defense, win some ugly games,” Nowitzki said, “but definitely find a way to win some games and play some decent basketball until I come back.” The addition of O.J. Mayo has given new life to the Mavericks offense. Mayo signed with Dallas in the offseason and has impressed through the first few games, which includes a 30-point performance in a huge 126-99 win against Charlotte. The Mavericks have looked solid on the young season and should be a complete package once Nowitzki returns. The third Texas team is one that many overlook, but the Houston Rockets are hoping to get noticed with their play this year. After signing...

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Women’s hoops to start season at Southwestern

The women’s basketball team has hit the hardwood in preparation for its 2012-13 season. New Head Coach Lisa Curliss-Taylor will begin her first season with the Lady Cru. The team will return nine players and add nine freshmen to the roster. Brandy Dittert, Gabby Guzman and Tina Miller are the three seniors on the team this season. Curliss-Taylor has set the objectives this year by focusing on the present. “Our main goal is to get better every day. We want a successful season, but we also want to build foundation and continue to get better,” she said. The Lady Cru will depend on their strengths to get them back in the American Southwest Conference Tournament. Curliss-Taylor believes the team has much talent. “We have quickness, and can shoot it from outside and inside. This will make it difficult for some teams to defend us. Overall, we are a balanced team,” she said. Freshman visual communications major Kourtney Bevers agrees. “We have a lot of speed on the team, and when we use that to our advantage, we are dynamic,” she said. The team will also use relationships within itself as an advantage on the court. Senior nursing major Brandy Dittert thinks that the bonds formed on the team will show on the hardwood. “Our strengths this season are our chemistry and our heart. Everyone on our team is a hard worker and has the same goal in mind. Our team is very close. We get along on the court, and we spend time together off the court. The chemistry we have made will benefit the way we will play this season. I believe when a team is unified, it is a key to being unbeatable,” she said. Sophomore computer information systems major Samara Williams supports Dittert on team relationships. “For an extremely young team, we have great chemistry. We are also good about keeping each other accountable without taking anything personal. We all genuinely love and support each other,” she said. Last season, the Lady Cru finished 5-16 in conference play and had a 6-19 overall record. In the 2012-13 ASC’s annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, the Lady Cru are picked to finish fourth place in the West Division. The Cru totaled 77 points in the ballot voted by ASC West Division coaches, sports information directors and media members. They chose Concordia University to finish first with 137 points, followed by Howard Payne University with 129 points. Hardin-Simmons University comes in third place and totaled 108 points. Bevers talks about this year’s squad. “We are a very young team this year and definitely new. We have worked really...

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Cru Basketball: Men expected to dominate conference, again

In 2002 the movie Like Mike took the screens by storm as actor and rapper Lil’ Bow Wow acted out a dream that many young basketball players share—to play in the NBA. Even more popular was the song titled “Basketball” that was released as part of the movie’s soundtrack. What Bow Wow didn’t know was that 10 years later the words in his song would highlight the thoughts of many Crusaders: “They’re playing basketball. We love that basketball.” The season is drawing near, and several around the ASC West believe that the men’s team has what it takes to maintain its title. The Cru received 17 first-place votes and totaled 140 points in the overall balloting at the West Division’s annual preseason meeting of coaches and the media. This is nothing new for the Crusader team Coach Ken DeWeese said. “Being picked first is something we have come to expect. It is nice that others think highly of our team in the preseason. However, at the end of the season, the team that is first is the team that has earned it with the best won-lost record. There will be no vote to see who is first. It must be earned,” he said. To come out on top, the team has several new challenges to overcome. First, ten of the players on the 18-man roster are new faces for the Crusaders. To have a successful season, the Cru must come together despite the changes in personnel. Next, with the graduating class gone, a vital part of the team’s scoring and rebounding must be replaced. The graduating seniors accounted for 62 percent of the points scored and 68 percent of the rebounding. Some of the weight will be handed to the team’s freshmen. Currently, they occupy eight spots on the roster, but they don’t plan to let their youth keep them from being key contributors in games. Freshman biology major Layton Zinsmeister said, “With losing all those key players… we have big shoes to fill. I speak for all the freshman. We are most looking forward to getting better and growing as a team. We want to work hard in practice to make the games seem easy. We all are going to work extremely hard in an attempt to win a conference title.” The team got its first taste of basketball against St. Edwards (Division II) in an exhibition game. The Hilltoppers upset the Cru 95 to 69. It was the long-range shooting of St. Edwards that clipped any momentum the team had tried to build. “St. Edward’s shot 38 three-point shots and made 19 for 50 percent from the...

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