Beacons Playoff Hopes Extinguished

Ben Whelan

Culminating with a first-round home-loss to Western Connecticut State College, the Lady Beacons of UMass Boston can reflect on their season with mixed reviews. Yes, they got bumped in the first round of the Little East Conference Tournament, but they also accomplished something that no other Lady’s team has done in school history: Host a home playoff game.

The 2006-2007 season cannot be viewed as a disappointment, yet cannot be seen as a total success either. It could be said that the Lady Beacons should have advanced past the first round of the tourney, but an injury to shifty junior guard Ashley Greene in the last regular season game severely hampered their chances of moving on to round two.

The Lady Beacons are also in the history books for another reason, becoming only the second team in Little East Conference history to enter the tournament as a three seed and lose to a six seed in the first round. Good history, no, but history nonetheless.

This history however cannot overshadow the fact that the Beacons had a very good regular season in which they compiled an overall record of 15-11 while going 8-6 in the competitive Little East Conference. Umass Boston finished third in their conference, trailing only the 2007 LEC Champion Southern Maine Huskies and tournament runner-up Keene State.

Throughout the entire season, it was extremely clear as to who the Lady Beacon’s best player was. LeKeisha Tucker, a 5′ 4″ junior guard hailing from Pawtucket, RI led the Beacons in scoring (15.3 ppg), assists (2.65 apg), and every possible free throw category. She also led the team in three pointer’s made (40) and field goals made (4.7 pg). Tucker was the leader on floor throughout the entire season, making passes, getting to the line, leading by example and most importantly, always being a team player. LaKeisha will be back next season, along with almost all her supporting cast and will most certainly have a chip on her shoulder from losing in the first round of the tournament.

Keisha, as her teammates like to call her, was also one of the top athletes in the Little East Conference, ranking first in free throw percentage (.868), fourth in scoring average, fifth in three-point shooting (.345) and sixth in assists (2.65 apg). Needless to say, she was the best player that Coach Shawn Renee Polk trotted out there on a nightly basis.

LaKeisha was not alone atop the leader boards in the LEC. Before injuring her knee, Ashley Greene was top ten in the league in steals, and was another leader on the floor for the Lady Beacons night in and night out, always filling up every section the stat sheet had to offer.

Head Coach Shawn Renee Polk deserves as much credit as any of the young women on her squad for keeping the Lady Beacons on an even keel the whole season. She always put the work in to make sure her team was ready for the next opponent and always seemed to be a calm, stabilizing force on the bench, never yelling, but always getting her points across. The Beacons only lost to teams who were noticeably better than them, a point that should not go by the way side.

The Beacons will be losing some leadership as they graduate Lydia Coverdale, Denise B. Ridge and UMass Boston’s most prolific three-point shooter of all time, guard Kristen Reske. Filling in the leadership roles always seems to be a difficult task, but LaKeisha Tucker will be returning, and hopefully Ashley Greene can recover from her knee injury to make her presence felt on the court and in the locker room. As long as Shawn Renne Polk keeps coachin’ ’em up and LaKeisha Tucker keeps droppin’ ’em in, the Lady Beacons seem top be in line for another home playoff game and a chance at redemption.