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Glenville State and the MEC
March 6, 2014 - Jay Bennett
It's been an excellent year for the basketball programs at Glenville State College, which have done quite well on the hardwood in the Pioneers' first year in Mountain East Conference action.
Both the women's team of head coach Charles Marshall and the men's squad of head man Stephen Dye are in this week's MEC tournament quarterfinals inside the Charleston Civic Center. The women play today and the men look to advance starting at 2:15 p.m. Friday.
"We're excited and the guys are playing well at the best time of the year," Dye said of his No. 3 seeded team that was predicted to finish eighth. "We're excited to get down there and show everyone what we got. Shepherd is a good team. They play fast and get up and down the court."
Having been picked so low in the preseason poll, coach Dye admitted his guys used that as a means of motivation and one might compare their style of play to NCAA Division I program Wichita State -- aka 'playing angry'.
"I'm proud of them. These guys have been through a lot of adversity from day one and everyone has doubted us," Dye added. "We're playing angry and we're playing disrespected and feel we've been disrespected since day once being ranked eighth.
"It's been motivation for us and I'm proud of how our guys have responded. I think it's the highest Glenville has finished since we've been in D2. They have worked hard and I hope we can keep going and go for the championship."
As it currently appears, the GSC men likely need to win the MEC tournament or at least reach the finals and then hope for help if they want a shot at playing in the Atlantic Region.
On the other side of things, the Pioneer women are locked into the Atlantic Region tournament, which is likely to be held at Gannon University.
Coach Marshall has a trio of incoming recruits already, but his team is also playing a little angry after the all-MEC selections came out.
"They were upset and disappointed from the conference selections," Marshall said of Kenyona Simmons making first team and Ginny Mills earning second team honors. "Me, personally, I don't see how you can be the best team all year and have one young lady (Jessica Parsons) leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
"And, you just got a game-changer... she don't average a whole lot of points, but defensively Aesha Peters is a game-changer. I don't see where they got that. That struck a nerve (with the team) and it struck a nerve with me."
Nonetheless, the GSC women know they have a chance to do something special.
"The focus I've gotten from them this week in practice has been by far the best it's been all year," added the coach. "That has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with the eight seniors we have and they know this is their last go around and their last shot and what that tells me is how bad they want to win it."
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