By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, Tenn., — After a memorable season and a trip to the NCAA tournament, it is important to note that the Chattanooga women’s basketball team has a lot to look forward to under head coach Jim Foster.
Foster, who accumulated over 800 wins in his career and is a member of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, gave UTC their highest national ranking and seeding ever in a tournament game, and has never lost in the SoCon.
With a roster full of youth and talent, the potential can be the ceiling for the women’s basketball team after a 29-4 record.
Yes, they have lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament back-to-back times, but this was really the first year to see the potential of the young talent Foster recruited, and they have been nothing short of impressive.
This young team defeated the likes of Tennessee, Harvard, Butler, Stanford and every SoCon opponent this season, which gave UTC one of their most successful years in school history.
This is only the beginning for Foster’s Mocs, and under his experience and teachings, the team has the capability to achieve a season even higher than this one in the near future.
This team lost five seniors from the 2013-14 season, and started a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior this year.
UTC had four players named to All-SoCon awards, which included sophomores Jasmine Joyner, Southaven, Miss., and Chelsey Shumpert, Paducah, Ky., making the First Team, junior Alicia “Red” Payne, Memphis, earned Defensive Player of the Year for the conference, and Keiana Gilbert, Columbia, Tenn., was named to the All-Freshman team.
All four will return next season and will have another year, or two, or three, of experience ahead of them.
That means next season, the team will return a squad that has two years of team chemistry under Foster’s leadership, and could very well be back at the Big Dance next year, maybe even a higher seed.
After they were forced with an early 51-40 in the NCAA Tournament by Pittsburgh, opposing head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio had nothing but positive things to say about Foster.
“I have so much respect for him [Foster],” McConnell-Serio said in the press conference following the game. “He’s one of the best in the game.”
For me as a UTC student, this is a great time to witness not only success in our women’s basketball team, for multiple sports as well.