Final Four return on Titans’ radar

03/04/2009 12:22

The second-ranked Lane women open tournament play against Whatcom on Thursday morning

Posted to Web: Tuesday, Mar 3, 2009 11:53PM
Appeared in print: Wednesday, Mar 4, 2009, page C3

The Titans have made the Final Four at the NWAACC Tournament five straight seasons, winning titles in 2006 and ’07. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to think Lane can’t get back to that same spot this year.

“I feel good and I think the kids feel good,” said Titans coach Greg Sheley, who will take his eighth straight team to the tournament, which runs Thursday to Sunday in the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash.

The second-ranked Titans (23-5), who finished second in the South Region at 12-2, will play Whatcom Community College (15-9), the third-place team from the North Region at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favors dropping to the No. 2 seed in terms of how the bracket works out,” Sheley said. “Five of the eight ranked teams are on our side. But it’s a championship tournament, so you have to be ready to play at all times.”

The Titans had a shot at their fifth straight South Region title last week in the regular-season finale against No. 1 Umpqua, but they lost 86-80 to the Riverhawks to finish in second place.

“The more we watched game film, the better we felt,” Sheley said. “We went into the No. 1-ranked team’s gym and outplayed them for 36 minutes.”

There is one upside to come from that loss, Sheley said.

“We get an early game time,” he said, noting that Umpqua doesn’t play until the last game Thursday night. “Now we don’t have to sit around all day. I like that we’re playing early. We can get it done and over with.”

The entire starting lineup for the Titans received South Region all-league recognition this week.

Forward Theresa Brown and guard Sheena Cole were named to the first team, guard Carmen Williams was on the second team, and Sarah Whitfield and Jennifer Kimbrow were received honorable mention.

Cole and Kimbrow were also selected to play in the NWAACC’s sophomore All-Star Showcase on March 15 at Pierce College in Lakewood, Wash.

But first comes the tournament.

“I’m jazzed,” Sheley said. “How can you not be jazzed? It’s tournament time.”