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Graduation typically means the faces fans have grown to identify with the program will no longer be on the sidelines. However, that is not the case for this year's Georgetown College women's basketball team.
Kourtney Tyra – three-time All-American, all-time assist leader and Top 5 all-time scoring – will continue to be present. For five years, the McKee, Ky. native was the point guard that became synonymous with the program.
While she will not be in uniform, she takes over as assistant coach for Andrea McCloskey.
"It has just been a natural progression," McCloskey said. "She's been a leader since day one and I think everyone got a glimpse of her coaching passion during her junior season."
Georgetown College women's basketball inks a true freshman from Arab, Ala. Shelby Beam, a 5-foot-8 shooting guard, is the newest Tiger.
"Shelby is a great shooter from all areas on the floor," said GC coach Andrea McCloskey. "She does a great job of distributing the basketball to her teammates and hustles for the loose balls."
Those are several key components to the three seniors McCloskey just graduated. The Tigers lost a lot of point production as well as the school's all-time assist leader in the 2013 class.
Beam scored 1,112 points in her four seasons for Arab High School. The guard finished with 619 total rebounds along with 201 steals and 187 assists. She averaged 9.8 points and had 5.5 rebounds per game. Her final three years of high school, she was averaging double-digits, her highest at 11 ppg her sophomore season.
One Franklin County High School standout gives way to another. Ashli Mayes joins Georgetown College women's basketball team as former Flyer teammate Andrea Howard graduates.
The best friends may never get to play at GC together, but the bond still ties pretty deep. The irony even existing that Mayes could fill some of the void left by Howard – 12.8 points per game career average and 14.9 in her senior year.
"I keep hearing that I have big shoes to fill," Mayes said with a smile. "(Andrea) was probably the biggest recruiting tool for me. I really look up to her; she is like my bigger sister. I was hearing from everyone in the Mid-South Conference, but knowing how much she liked it here and how well she did was just a huge comfort to me."
Georgetown College athletics prides itself on not just success on the field or court, but strives for excellence in all facets of the student-athlete experience.
One portion of that is community service and this past weekend at the NCAA Women's Basketball Division I National Championships, GC's women's basketball was recognized for its efforts with the Play4Kay initiative. The Tigers raised $1,500-plus for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
NCAA DI schools all the way to high schools participates in this effort and the foundation recognizes the top schools from each level. Penn State University (NCAA DI), Queen's University (NCAA DII), Moravian College (NCAA DIII), Georgetown (NAIA), Trinity Valley Community College (CC), St. Agnes Academy (National High School/AAU), and Harrells Christian Academy (North Carolina High School/AAU) were this year's seven honorees.
Sometimes it is just one of those nights – the wrong time to play the wrong opponent. This was the case Thursday for Georgetown College's women's basketball team.
The No. 8 Tigers (21-9) ran into an extremely hot Loyola University (22-11) in the first round of the NAIA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament. The Wolf Pack hit 93 percent from the field for the first eight minutes and were still hitting 84 percent with two minutes left to halftime. LU cooled off considerably and GC showed the heart and grit its fans have seen all season, but in the end it was free throws that were the difference in an 87-80 loss.
The two teams ended up hitting the same number of shots – 31 – and Georgetown finished with one more three-pointer (10). Loyola had eight more made free throws and a total of 13 more attempts. GC finished 8-of-12 from the line, while the Wolf Pack went 16-of-25.