MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Throughout the course of the 2013-2014 season, Maryville College’s Lady Scot basketball team wore a slogan on their t-shirts: “It’s all about 20.”
The slogan was in reference to the team’s attempts to earn the school’s 20th NCAA tournament appearance.
On Monday afternoon, 48 hours after finishing a surprising second in the USA South conference tournament, the Lady Scots learned that their goal had been accomplished, as they were selected to fill one of 21 at-large berths in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Maryville College (22-6) were the No. 1 seed in the USA South’s North Division, and had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the NCAA Division III’s South Region polls this season.
But the Lady Scots’ tournament run was a surprise after losing three key players to injury late in the season.
With three games remaining, the Lady Scots lost Mackenzie Puckett to a knee injury. Puckett was the USA South’s player of the year, averaging 26.8 points per game. Two games later, Maryville lost another starter — Lailah Farmer, a third-team all-conference honoree — to a knee injury.
Nevertheless, the Lady Scots battled back from eight points down in the second half of the USA South quarterfinals last week to defeat NC Wesleyan, 70-63.
Oneida graduate Alex Bond, a starting guard, excelled during the come-from-behind win. With several members of her family present in Ferrum, Va., for the game — including her parents, Brett and Joyce Bond, and son, Rylin — the junior had her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The following day, Friday, Maryville College cruised to a 69-46 win over LaGrange. Bond finished with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Lady Scots’ tournament run ended with a loss to Ferrum — the nation’s No. 16 team — in the USA South championship game on Saturday, as Ferrum took the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
But on Monday, Maryville learned that it had been selected as one of the field’s at-large teams. The Lady Scots will face Texas-Tyler (25-3) at Rhodes College in Memphis, although the bracket had not been finalized with game date and time as of Monday evening.
Former Oneida graduate Lecretia Robbins is also a member of the Maryville College team. Robbins, a true freshman, followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Donja Robbins, when she signed with the Lady Scots last year.