Tipoff is at 7 p.m. as the River States Conference (RSC) West Division champion Cougars (19-11, 12-6 RSC), take on the Red Storm of University of Rio Grande (19-11, 10-7 RSC) in the Cougar Gym.
Fans are invited to a free tailgate at 6 p.m. in front of the gym, 507 E. Superior St., Kokomo. Game tickets are $5 for general admission. There is no cost to children 12 and younger, as well as IU Kokomo students, faculty, and staff with a Cougar Card.
IU Kokomo’s athletic director, Greg Cooper, also interim assistant coach, wants a full gym of Cougar supporters to recognize the team’s accomplishments.
“The women are excited, and happy, and humbled to continue to play,” he said, noting that only the top four in each of the divisions earned a conference bid. “This is what you work for all year, for the opportunity to continue to play.
Team leader Deja Felder [Goshen/Goshen HS] also encouraged fans to come to the game.
“This accomplishment is a result of all the hard work the team has put in, and the maturing we’ve done,” she said. “It means a lot to see it all pay off.”
It is especially meaningful to her as one of four players who has been with the team since it started three seasons ago. Juniors Dejianna Butler [Evansville/Bosse HS], Tabitha DeWitt [Laketon/Manchester HS] and Whitney Williamson [Nashville/Brown County HS] also played in the inaugural season.
“For the women’s basketball team only being three years old, and with how strong basketball is in our conference, this is a huge accomplishment,” said Cooper. “We have a number of teams in our conference who have been ranked nationally this year, including us early in the season. This is a great reward for a lot of hard work by these women.”
The Cougars won the division title with a 69-56 win at Alice Lloyd College Saturday (February 18).
The winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal game advances to Saturday’s semifinal, against the winner of the IU Southeast vs. Ohio Christian quarterfinal. The conference championship game is February 28, and the winner earns a bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament.
Cooper noted that IU Kokomo can move on to the national tournament by winning the conference tournament, or if the other number one seed, IU East, wins the conference tournament.
“This is all about perseverance and the chemistry this group has,” he said. “They’re a very close-knit team, and they’ve overcome a lot of external hurdles this year. We are very proud of them.”
For more information, go to iukcougars.com
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