By Thonnia Lee
Fans of Golden Tigers basketball have been cheering all weekend. The women won the SIAC Championship on Saturday after defeating Miles College 72-65. Now, both teams are heading to the “big dance” to compete in the first round of NCAA Tournament.
This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the women Golden Tigers since 2008 and the first time for the men since 2014.
The women’s championship is the first under Trelanne Powell, who was named SIAC Coach of the Year. The women are heading to Tampa to take on top seeded Tampa in the South Region in the first round of competition this Friday.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Benjy Taylor and his men’s basketball squad will continue their season in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Ranked No. 7 in the South Region, the men will head to Fort Lauderdale to take on No. 2 seed West Alabama in the first round on Saturday.
Despite falling short in the SIAC Championship earlier this week, the men Golden Tigers won over 20 games for the first time in nine years, ranking among the top eight in the region throughout the year.
Senior Gregg Boyd, a guard from Seat Pleasant, Maryland and Senior Devin Booker, a guard from Chicago, were named to the first and second TIAA SIAC men’s all-conference team for their hard work.
Ashiala Jackson, a senior forward from Merrillville, Indiana, was named to the first all-conference women’s team and named player of the year. JuToreyia Willis, a graduate guard from Chattanooga, was also named to first team and defensive player of the year. Willis was also named an Elite 14. This award recognizes the student athlete with highest academic standard. She carries a 4.0 GPA.