Eighty and counting

12/02/2010 20:09

Lady Titans own nation's best winning streak

Alan K. Fox

Issue date: 12/2/10 Section: Sports
 
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson

We've got a bunch of record-makers on our hands.

The Titan women's basketball team hasn't lost a home game since 2002 and is currently on an 80-game winning streak at home.

That's not just good for the Titans. That's better than any currently active team in the NCAA or any junior college, men's or women's. The streak is also the all-time record in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.

The Titans have also claimed the NWAACC Championship three times: 2006, 2007 and 2009. On top of that, the women have also brought home the Southern Region title five times, once in 2003 and then for four consecutive years from 2005 to 2008.

Head coach Greg Sheley maintains that the team should remain focused and humble. He admits the streak could be seen as a burden. It paints a target on the Titans - any NWACC team would love to end the streak.

After all, if the women keep winning at home, chances for playoff eligibility are pretty good.

"We figure as long as we win all of our home games it's going to come down to winning two or three tough road games," Sheley said.

The next closest streak to the Titans' is the Division I Kansas University men's basketball team's. They've won 64 consecutive home games. But while the LCC streak took nine seasons to build, the Jayhawks play 20 home games per year, much more than the Titans' seven or eight. Kansas started its streak in Feb. of 2007.

That doesn't stop LCC President Mary Spilde from mentioning the streak any time she takes a visitor by the gym. When Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley toured the campus, Spilde and Board of Education Chairman Tony McCowan made sure the former Trail Blazer was aware of the women's accomplishment.

Sheley says his players are aware of the steak even if they don't talk about it much.

"It's well known amongst the players and they know what is at stake," Sheley said. "I think that sometimes they feel a little bit of that pressure but they also use that pressure to motivate them. Because they don't want to be that team that let it slip away since we are going into its ninth year.

Players from past and present have been open about the streak and what it means to them.

Sophomore guard Brittany May understands the pressure and the accomplishment it has been so far.

"The winning streak is a reminder of all the hard work Lane players put in to the seasons and that makes me want to work harder," she said. "It puts pressure on us to perform but also having that record gives me the confidence and pride to make sure we don't lose it."

Former Titan guard Sarah Brolsma Whitfield admitted that while she was a little nervous before starting her first season with the team, she was happy to contribute to the legacy.

"It scared me coming in as a freshman because I was terrified to be on the team to lose it, but I feel so honored that I contributed to it," Brolsma Whitfield said. "It made playing at home that much more special and gave me even more drive to want to win. I am glad I was apart of the team who helped build it up."

Brolsma Whitfield is currently shooting hoops for Florida Gulf Coast University, another school with a home game-winning streak. With 25 wins, the Eagles are third among Division I teams in the NCAA.

If the team wins all of the home games this season the streak will be at 87 games.

The all-time home winning streak is 129 games by University of Kentucky that ran from the 1943-1955 seasons.