The Cardiac Ladies of East Parkway South
No disrespect to heart patients, but if you followed Christian Brothers University women's basketball during the 2009-2010, chances are your ticker paid a small price at the end of games.
But if you love thrilling women's basketball games, the ladies of East Parkway South and Central Avenue were during the 2009-2010 season, nothing short of exciting.
When the season started, the Lady Bucs had six freshmen, three transfers, and three who had played at CBU longer than two years and because of that, the Lady Bucs were picked to finish fifth in the rough-and-tumble GSC West, which stands for the Gulf South Conference, in case you didn't know.
The same Division II conference that included Delta State, Arkansas Tech, and Ouachita Baptist, teams that are good year in and year out.
Match their history up against the history of CBU's women basketball program since joining Division II 15 years ago, and it would be almost like comparing apples to oranges.
Prior to the 2009-2010 season, the only Lady Bucs on the squad who had played in postseason were senior Tameka Wooten and juniors Sheena DeBose and Katie Hume, when the Lady Bucs made the 2008 GSC Tournament and made it to the semis before losing to Delta State.
After a 11-16 record in 2008-09 and the loss of five seniors from the 2008-09 squad, the Lady Bucs returned only Wooten, Hume, and DeBose and welcomed Memphis-area freshman standouts Casey Gregory and Ty Harris from White Station, and Jessica Green from Lausanne in 2009-10.
Not only that, two Georgia products, Marissa Stewart and Shannel Wright and Aramis Judson from Virginia rounded out the freshman class.
Also included for the Lady Bucs was transfers Jasmine Ellis of Memphis Central High and Tennessee State, Normanique Johnson of Olive Branch and Northwest Mississippi Community and Briley Milfeld from Mineral Area Community from Missouri.
Their mission was simple from day one, which was to come together and have fun as well as win.
One of the first comebacks this writer remembers is the game against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 30 when the Lady Chargers was primed to put a stomping on the Lady Bucs.
When the score got to 35-19, the Lady Bucs began their comeback and on the strength of Wooten's 26 points, the Lady Bucs pulled out a 77-60 win, outscoring the Lady Chargers 58-25 in the final 21 minutes of the game.
Comeback No. 2 at Canale Arena came on Jan. 14 when the Lady Bucs, down 17 to Ouachita, rallied back thanks to strong performances from Wooten, who had 23 points as well as Johnson and DeBose who both scored in double figures, giving the Lady Bucs their first GSC win of the season.
Then on Feb. 1, a few days after Memphis was blanketed with ice, the Lady Bucs pulled off a comeback for the ages.
Down by 15, the Lady Bucs went on a 53-32 run thanks in part to 15 points from Milfield, a double-double from Ellis, who had 13 rebounds and 12 points plus 19 points from Wooten and DeBose to defeat the No. 7 team in the country.
After a five-game losing streak that lasted much of February, the Lady Bucs went from shoo-ins for the GSC Tournament to a team of doubt.
Then it happened.
With a season on the brink on Senior Night against Southern Arkansas, the ladies of East Parkway South had one more comeback for the home crowd left.
Down 18, the Lady Bucs pulled off a comeback that put the stamp on their bid for the GSC Tournament, starting with Ellis' layup with 13 seconds left in regulation to force the game to overtime after missing a free throw that could have won it.
In the overtime period, Johnson drew a shooting foul, made a free throw and the senior Wooten fittingly knocked down the free throws to give the Lady Bucs their seventh comeback win of the season and their ticket stamped to Southaven, Miss., for the GSC Tournament, the third berth in school history for the women.
On Thursday afternoon against Valdosta State, I thought for sure comeback win No. 8 was going to happen against the best team in the GSC.
When the Lady Bucs' margin was down to 9, it just seemed the basketball gods would allow another comeback to happen.
But it was not meant to be.
Although DeBose scored a game-high 21 points, the clock struck midnight on a heart-stopping season of women's basketball as they lost in the quarterfinal to Valdosta State 64-49.
Now as the acts of the 2009-2010 CBU women's basketball season are written, what will their legacy be?
Here's a fitting one.
The cardiac ladies of the Parkway.
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