After a great season, the girls of the Maryville College basketball team made it into
the NCAA tournament as their post-season continues beyond the conference tournament.
It is the 19th time they have made the tournament, and also a record in Maryville College
sports history. Senior Kiera Payne epitomized the feeling in the girls’ camp.
“I’m so happy to be a part of it,” Payne said. The senior has slashed to the basket all
season with 12.3 points per game.
On Mon., Feb. 26, a meeting was prepared in which the group gathered together to
wait for the result. The wait was very stressful for those who were in the room, but also
for those who were in class and unable to attend the meeting.
According to Payne, the team was not sure if they would get an at-large bid this year
“It was a 50/50 chance,” Payne said.
When the results were announced,, an explosion of joy erupted, and everyone
screamed, jumped and ran into each other arms. For those who were in class, the reaction
was pretty much the same.
“I was in class watching it on my phone and when I heard,” Payne said. “I ran down
the hall to Alex Bond who was in lab and jumped up and down in front of the door way
to tell her, I was ecstatic.”
The news of getting this 19th bid was great for the team, who were not ready to finish
the season on a bitter note after losing its last game against Chris. Newport 51-61 on Feb
With this opportunity, everyone on the team is very excited to continue the adventure.
Going to Indiana does not scare anyone.
“The first round game will not be against the home team, so we will both be getting
use to the environment,” Payne said.
The team is more than ready to play, no matter who their opponent may be. They will
be ready for everything, as long as it is with the team.
Payne reflects the thoughts of her team. As far as she is concerned, it is more than just
a team. It is also a group of great friends off the court who really enjoy playing together;
something that really help improving the team chemistry and so the play and the results.
“I just wanted another chance with this group of girls” Payne said.
As for making it into this tournament for the 19th time, the girls of the team are really
proud of being part of this history. But, they are also humble and will do everything on
the court to prove that the MC women’s basketball team deserve to be in the national
tournament. This record-breaking appearance is a result of many years of hard work to
build this competitive team.
Is there a special preparation for these kinds of games? Not according to Payne.
“There is no pressure on us anymore,” Payne said. “All we have to do now is going
out and win games.”
The only thing left to do now for the girls is play hard on the court, and whatever
happens will happen. This mentality going into the game can only be positive for the