The Fort Valley State University (FVSU) Lady Wildcats are the 2012 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Basketball Champions after defeating the Tigerettes of Tuskegee University, 61-52, in the championship game on Saturday, March 3rd at Forbes Arena. The Wildcats claimed their second consecutive title and their eleventh SIAC title in the school’s history.

Fort Valley State Lady Wildcats (thesiac.com)

Trailing 30-25 at halftime, in the second half the Lady Wildcats resorted to the one weapon that has worked repeatedly throughout the regular season, the press.  Forcing only 11 first half turnovers, the Lady Wildcats upped the pace of its press in the second half and forced a total of 23 Tigerette miscues.  Those turnovers not only resulted in transition baskets for Lady Wildcats; they also prevented the Tigerettes from settling into a half court offense that allowed them to take advantage of their superior size.

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In addition to a better defensive second half, the Lady Wildcats were also better from the field in the final 20 minutes of play.  After a dismal 28% shooting performance in half (7 of 25), the Lady Wildcats shot 48% from floor after the intermission. FVSU outscored the Tigerettes in the second half, 36-22, on their way to the conference tournament title.

It was the senior Yasheeka Jones who led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with a game-high 16 points. Dominique Collier finished with 10.  Nnenna Eze led the Tigerettes with 13 points and Eryn Gray added 10.

For the tournament, Jones scored a total of 46 points and averaged 15.3 points per game.  She also finished the tournament with 13 assists and nine steals.  For her effort, Jones was named to the SIAC All-Tournament Team and was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

With the regular season SIAC Title and conference tournament title in tow, the Lady Wildcats will receive the automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regional Playoffs. Currently ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II South Region, the Lady Wildcats will be making their 19th appearance in the NCAA Regionals.

2012 SIAC Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team

Symone Wilkerson, Albany State University

Santera Grooms, Benedict College

Phyllice Eubanks, Stillman College

Nnenna Eze, Tuskegee University

Yasheeka Jones, Fort Valley State University

Most Outstanding Player: Yasheeka Jones, Fort Valley State University

Most Outstanding Coach: Lonnie Bartley, Fort Valley State University

2012 Runner-Up: Tuskegee University

2012 SIAC Men’s Tournament Champions: Fort Valley State University