| Departing Seniors Offer Words of Wisdom
On February 16, Berea College's senior women basketball players were honored before large crowds and, in some cases, with record breaking stats in their game against St. Mary of the Woods.
Seniors Rebecca May and Toccara Gambrel share a hug after coming off the court.
The Lady Mountaineers paid tribute to their three seniors before an action-packed game. Toccara Gambrel, De-An Watkins and Rebecca May were escorted to center court amid cheers to be honored for outstanding 4-year careers with the Mountaineers.
Gambrel is a technology and industrial arts major from Danville, Ky. After graduation, she plans to go to work and later attend graduate school. She says she may explore the option of going overseas to play basketball, but says, "I would love to coach a high school team and use the wisdom and techniques that I've learned here at Berea from Coach Bunky and Coach Smith."
Her favorite on-court memory, winning the KIAC Championship and the invite to Nationals, holds special significance for her. "I played basketball since my 7th grade year, and I had never been a part of a winning team," Gambrel said. "I was so excited to be able to experience what it feels like to be a champion. It was my birthday weekend, so that made it that more exciting."
Gambrel offers wise advice for younger players on the team. "My advice ... is to not let basketball stress you out." She continues by saying, "You're supposed to have fun and when you're not, the whole team isn't having fun. Keep a positive attitude, bond as a team because you're part of a family." Gambrel averages 2.16 points and 3.16 rebounds per game. In her final home game against St. Mary of the Woods, she scored 2 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Rebecca May hails from Waynesburg, Ky. She's a sociology education major and hopes to teach either middle or high school after graduation. If she is teaching, she hopes to become involved in coaching basketball as well. Her favorite basketball memories include the trip to nationals as well as meeting new people and making new friends here at Berea. To her fellow teammates, her advice is simple. "Continue to always work hard because playing college ball is a once in a lifetime experience," May says.
May averages 17. 85 points, 5.19 rebounds and 2.29 assists per game. The senior pushed her potential to the fullest on senior night to reac her 2,000th point, with a current total of 2,023 points. She also entered the 500 rebound club. May also broke her own record of 9 three-point shots in one game by sinking 11 shots on Friday. May leaves Berea College as the all-time leading scorer in the school's history. She has been voted Player of the Week on the KIAC website numerous times in her career. She scored 37 points against St. Mary, pulled down 8 rebounds and had 7 assists.
The final senior player comes all the way from Athens, Ala. De-An Watkins is majoring in sociology and political science. She hopes to become a capital mitigation specialist after going to grad school for social work. Her favorite memories at Berea include going to Nationals and being crowned Homecoming Queen in 2005. "If you hustle and put forth your best effort, it will cover up a lot of mistakes," Watkins offers to fellow and future players. "Also, always remember that people are watching you on and off the court: you get what you give."
Watkins averages 7.69 points, 6.69 rebounds and 5.08 assists per game. In her last home game, she scored 2 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and contributed 10 assists. She is ranked eighth in Division II offensive rebounds and first in assists/turnover ratios. She was also voted Player of the Week for the week of January 15, 2007.
After the tribute, the three seniors led the Lady Mountaineers to a victory in their final home game of the season, beating St. Mary of the Woods 117 to 77.
The ladies are now in the middle of KIAC tournament action at HOOPS in Jefferson, Ky. All games for the tournament are held February 22 - 24 at HOOPS. The winner of the tournament gets an automatic bid to the 32 team NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament held in Sioux City, Iowa, from March 7 - 13, 2007. For more information on this weekend's KIAC tournament or to fill out brackets, please visit the KIAC Web page by clicking on the link below.