All-Army Women Prevail in Military March Madness
March 21, 2007
By Tim Hipps
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, March 21, 2007) - Sgt. Evevetta Crawford averaged 20.2 points in six games to help the All-Army team win the 2007 Armed Forces Women's Basketball Championship March 12-17 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.
The All-Army team celebrated the 30th anniversary of Armed Forces women's basketball by going 6-0 in the double round-robin tournament and capturing its 26th crown against sister services Air Force (3-3), Marine Corps (2-4) and Navy (1-5).
"It's an awesome tradition to be part of," said All-Army fourth-year head coach Leroy Williams of Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "We've been blessed to get a lot of good, quality athletes that find a way to play together despite that it's only for a short period of time.
"It just kind of speaks for itself. It's just amazing this type of dominance is happening," he said.
Crawford, forward stationed at Camp Buckner in Okinawa, Japan, was named to the Armed Forces All-Tournament Team, as were All-Army teammates forward Pfc. Shelly Jones of Fort Bragg, N.C.; and guard 1st Lt. Alonna Marable of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Jones averaged 10.3 points and a team-high 9.7 rebounds during the tourney. Marable averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.
"Evevetta is our veteran of the team," Williams said of Crawford, who was named to the All-Tournament Team for the eighth time in as many Armed Forces Championships.
"She had a good supporting cast and she stepped up when she needed to step up," Williams said. "The other young ladies did a good job of supporting her and vice versa: Ali, Jones, Marable, (Jaci) Bice, and the others who came off the bench. As a team, everyone was outstanding."
Marable had 23 points on 9-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead All-Army to an 80-59 victory over All-Marine that clinched the gold medal for the Soldiers. Crawford scored 18 points and Bice added 13 as All-Army shot 58 percent.
Although 10 inches of snow blanketed the installation, Crawford maintained her hot hand the next day and scored 27 points in All-Army's 72-70 victory over All-Air Force that concluded the Soldiers' undefeated run. Marable added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Spc. Shan'tel Ali of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, had 12 points and 10 rebounds in All-Army's final game of the tourney. Spc. Jaci Bice of Fort Richardson, Alaska, added nine points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
"It was down, basically, to the last shot," Williams said. "All four teams were very competitive and pretty close in structure as far as athletes go. We got pushed to the limit in a couple of those games. I was very much impressed that they stayed focused and endured the distraction of the snow. Even though they had already won the tournament, they were able to pull out a victory in that last game."
In their tourney opener, Marable had 18 points and Crawford added 17 points and eight rebounds as All-Army defeated All-Navy, 73-62.
Crawford had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals to lead All-Army to a 77-68 victory in their first meeting with the All-Marine team. Bice scored 17 points and Marable added 16.
Jones came off the bench to score 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and had 17 rebounds in 28 minutes of All-Army's 79-63 victory over All-Air Force. Crawford had 20 points and eight boards. Bice added 17 points.
All-Army displayed its depth during a 95-76 victory over All-Navy. Crawford led the charge with 21 points, and three reserves scored in double figures: Jones (18 points, 11 rebounds), Sgt. Amoni Suttice (17 points) of Kadena Air Base, Japan; and Sgt. Chrishea Fisher (11 points on 5-for-5 shooting) of Fort Sill, Okla. Marable added 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
"I'd been talking to Amoni Suttice and Chrishea Fisher about how in a six-, seven-, or eight-person rotation that someone else needs to step up because the other teams have found a way to contain the starting five," Williams said. "When they get their chance, they need to take advantage of it, whether it's 30 seconds or 2 minutes. The more successful they are out on the court, the longer they stay, and the more rest that goes to the starters."
Senior Airman Nicole Bowman, a guard from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and Navy Ship's Serviceman Third Class Judy Burns, a center stationed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, rounded out the Armed Forces All-Tournament Team.
They will join Army representatives coach Williams, Marable, Crawford, Jones, Bice and Ali on the Armed Forces All-Star Team scheduled to play in the Pro-Am National Championships March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas.
Senior Airman Nina Hawkins of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Senior Airman Muneerah Williams of Dover Air Force Base, Del.; Lance Cpl. Nicole Wells of Paris Island, S.C.; Ensign Ashley Pelzek of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; and Yeoman Third Class Tija Hopkins of Petaluma, Calif., filled the Armed Forces All-Star Team roster.
(Tim Hipps writes for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Claudia A. Berwager, an Army Sports Specialist at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., contributed.)