Justin Chapman | Echo
Hope filled the women's basketball team this Monday as the No. 18 Trojans headed to Indianapolis to face the No. 5 Marian Knights in the Crossroads League Championship game. The battle was tough, but in the end, the Knights ended up on top by the score of 62-55.
Junior forward Kendall Bradbury led the team in points with 17, well below her season average of 23.5 points per game. Senior forward Cassidy Wyse came close to achieving a double-double, as she contributed nine points and nine rebounds.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 48. The Knights quickly scored six unanswered points, and the Trojans never recovered.
"We did not take good shots and gave up too many easy looks for Marian," said senior guard Josie Cobb. "We did not have urgency when we needed to."
The Trojans end up losing the series against Marian this year, as they have gone 0-3 against the Knights. A highlight of the game was Wyse joining Taylor's 1,500-point club. She now is the 10th person in Taylor's women's basketball history to reach 1,500 points.
Additionally, Bradbury, Cobb and Wyse were all named to the All-Crossroads League team this Wednesday. Bradbury made the All-Crossroads League first team, while Wyse made the All-Crossroads League second team and Cobb made the All-Crossroads League third team.
Bradbury is averaging a double-double this season, with 23.5 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. Cobb is averaging 10.7 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Wyse is averaging 13.5 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Even though the Trojans lost in the Crossroads League Championship game, the letdown was quickly turned to hope, as the announcement was made Wednesday they will head to Sioux City, Iowa, to compete in the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament.
"I always have an expectation that my teams will compete to be their best which then gives them an opportunity to be one of the top teams in the conference," said head coach Jody Martinez. "Once we got into December, then I knew this team was going to make a run for the tournament."
The fourth-seed Trojans were placed in the Liston bracket and will face off against fifth-seed Northwest Christian Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. This is Northwest Christian's first appearance in the tournament.
The seniors on the team have never gone to the National Tournament, so the chance to experience this is extremely meaningful.
"It is an amazing feeling knowing that all of our hard work has finally paid off," Wyse said. "Throughout my four years there have been a lot of ups and downs so it is a great way to end my career on a high note with a trip to Iowa."
The farthest the Trojans have gone in the tournament is the Elite Eight back in 2007. Taylor's last appearance in the tournament was back in 2010; however, they lost in the first round against Cedarville by the score of 75-50.
The 2017-18 tournament will officially begin on March 7, and the championship game will be held on March 13. The Trojans enter the Tournament with an all-time record of 3-6 in the NAIA DII National Championship Tournament.
"Photograph provided by Brad Timmerman"