EWC head women's basketball coach Charmaine Wilson is the first to admit: between COVID-19 pauses and protocols, this has been the most abnormal season of her coaching career.
But despite a 2-4 start to the year -- "it felt like 0-4," Wilson laughed Thursday -- the Lady Tigers have persevered. And now, after running the table in the GCAC Conference and riding a nine-game win streak, they have their reward.
For the second time in three years, both the men's and women's conference basketball tournaments will be played at Edward Waters College. The ladies are scheduled to face Talladega College Saturday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals; the men's team will face the Talladega College men's side at 7:30 p.m.
For Wilson's Lady Tigers, it's a chance to avenge a two-point loss two years ago in these same, GCAC Conference Finals -- and put a cherry on top of the first regular season, conference title in program history.
"Every year, coach says she's trying to find 'the missing pieces.' I feel like this is the year we found all the missing pieces we've been missing," senior La'Quanza Glover, a senior and Ribault High grad, said Thursday.
Point guard Sha'Kawanza Brown, the other player to play in that GCAC Championship two years ago, echoed the message.
"I actually like this team now a lot better -- hate to say it. A lot more chemistry," Brown said with a smile. "I just feel like we have the whole, chain of links. Now, we should have no problems or mistakes that we made during my freshman year [in the final]."
The winner of the GCAC Tournament earns the automatic-berth into the NAIA Tournament. The tournament's championship game will also be hosted by Edward Waters.