Contact: C. Scott Shasteen
Oct. 26, 2016
Taking over a program that has struggled to consistently win for almost a decade, Bart Walker, head coach of the Motlow State Lady Bucks basketball team, knew when he arrived on campus in April that his challenge was significant.
Printable PDF schedule
Printable PDF roster
Not only had the program found wins hard to come by in previous seasons, but Walker was hired late in the recruiting process. In addition, he had spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech, and it had been six years since he had last been a head coach at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla.
But the new man in charge of women's basketball at Motlow has been more than up to the challenge. He has assembled a group of talented student-athletes, led by four returning sophomores, and has created a schedule that should test his new team early and allow them to evolve into a Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) contender by February.
"As they say in the coaching business, I probably over scheduled us for our first season," said Walker. "We want to test our team early against quality opponents and we most certainly did that. Hopefully, the tough schedule will benefit the team and the program in the long haul."
After a series of challenging scrimmages during the preseason, Walker will lead the Lady Bucks on the court for their first official game on Tuesday, Nov. 1, when they travel to Lebanon for a 3 p.m. contest against the Cumberland University JV. On Friday, Nov. 4, ironically, they take the floor against No. 12 ranked Northwest Florida State College at 5:30 p.m. in Niceville, Fla. The following day they will take on Pensacola State in the same gym at 1:30 p.m.
The home opener is the following Friday, Nov. 11, when the Lady Bucks will open conference play with a 7:30 p.m. contest against Columbia State at Copperweld Arena inside Nisbett Center on Motlow's Moore County campus. A tailgate party, sponsored by the Student Government Association, is scheduled to begin around 2:30 p.m. with food, games, face painting, and more. All Motlow students and the general public are invited to come to the front of Nisbett Center and help tip off the new season. The men's contest will begin at 5:30 p.m., and there is no admission charge to Motlow athletic events.
"Our young ladies should be commended on their commitment to the training it takes to condition their bodies for college basketball," added Walker. "Coaches can't coach effort and this team has played very hard during the preseason."
There are 29 games on the Lady Bucks schedule, including nine home-and-away series with TCCAA opponents. The final home conference game is Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, when Dyersburg State comes to Motlow for Sophomore Recognition Day. Homecoming is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, against Cleveland State.
Road games against non-conference opponents include a trip to Americus, Ga., during Thanksgiving weekend to face South Georgia Tech and Central Georgia Tech. Motlow will go to Booneville, Miss., to play Northeast Mississippi on Nov. 17, and will head back to the Magnolia State to play Itawamba in Fulton on Dec. 10, the final game before the holiday break.
Play resumes in 2017 when Itawamba pays a return visit to Copperweld Arena on Jan. 10, the first of three home games in five days. The Lady Bucks will play four games in eight days, all on the road, from Jan. 20 â€“ 28. Motlow will face No. 5 ranked Walters State twice; at home Jan. 13 and in Morristown Feb. 10.
The TCCAA rotates men's and women's game times during the season for conference games. Prior to the holiday break, the men play first, and after Jan. 1 the women play first.
2016-17 Women's Basketball Team - Seated, from left, Kienya Jones, Tamiah Stanford, Sydney Floyd, Taylor Hayes, Camecia Graham, Aja Robertson, and Sepe Moore. Standing, from left, Zack Banks, assistant coach; Ebony Shaw, Sara Vujacic, Jewel Ledbetter, Shalyn Washington, Bart Walker, head coach; Tybriann Jones, Lisa Jo Wygal, Zykirria Washington, Miranda Boutwell and Donnie Woods, assistant coach.