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Women's basketball in NCAA national tourney

Cindy Beavin
All-HCAC first team member Cindy Beavin

First-year head coach Greg Todd gave his Pioneers high marks for their work ethic and season-long consistency. Transy took an 8-4 early season record into the crux of its conference schedule in January and rode HCAC winning streaks of four and six games to get to the conference tournament championship game, where they lost a 70-69 heartbreaker to Manchester.

“I felt we were playing our best basketball by the end of year,” Todd said. “That one-point loss to Manchester on their home court for the HCAC title was one of our best games.”

Senior leadership came from several players, including All-HCAC first team member Cindy Beavin, who played point guard and averaged 10 points a game while leading the conference in assists with 5.5 a game. Haley Riney also played the point and overcame injuries to average nearly 8 points a game. Guard Rachel Wilson averaged 7.5 points while forwards Jessica Hanson and April Young, and guard Katie Shuffet, all played valuable minutes.

Sophomore center Julie Leach turned in the best individual performance for the Pioneers and for the HCAC, leading the league in both scoring (19.6 points a game) and rebounding (10.7 a game). She also shot 57 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free-throw line. League coaches voted her Player of the Year in the HCAC, after giving her four Player of the Week and two Player of the Month awards.

“It’s very unusual to have someone with the overall skills that Julie has, and especially to average a double-double,” Todd said. “Her consistency is amazing—she rarely has a bad outing.”

Junior forward Jessica Gilbert was the team’s fourth leading scorer at 9.1 points a game, and first-year guard Brittany Henderlight averaged 9.3 points a game and was named to the All-HCAC freshman team.

Leach featured in Sports Illustrated

Transylvania women’s basketball standout Julie Leach was featured in the February 22 edition of Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section, which recognizes outstanding athletes from across the nation.

Her citation read:
“Leach, a sophomore center at Transylvania, leads the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with an average of 18.3 points and 11.4 rebounds. She has scored and rebounded in double figures in 16 games this season and has been the HCAC women’s basketball player of the week four times.”

JUlie LEach

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