WASA Marquette Lady Eagles Win Women’s Division, While Central Florida Warriors Take Military Title
Both the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Women’s and Military Division Wheelchair Basketball Tournament champions followed their inside games to national titles. Natalie Schneider took control of the post in the NWBA Women’s Division championship game, totaling game-highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds to help lead the No. 1 seed WASA Marquette Lady Eagles to a 71-52 victory over the No. 4 seed Arizona Storm Sunday afternoon at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Ala. It marked WASA’s second straight wheelchair basketball title.
Schneider scored 18 of those points and went 8-of-12 from the field in the first half. She finished 12-of–21 from the field and 3-of-5 from the free-throw line and was one of four Lady Eagles to finish in double figures in scoring. Emily Oberst had 15 points and three rebounds, Becca Murray 14 points and six rebounds, while Sydney Schmidt added 11 points and two rebounds coming off the bench.
WASA jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 2 minutes and increased its advantage to 31-18 by the 6 minute, 30-second mark of the second quarter. But Arizona stormed back with eight straight points to cut the deficit to 31-26 with 3:20 left in the half.
That’s when the Lady Eagles made their emphatic deciding run. They closed the half on a 10-2 spurt to take a 41-28 lead at the half. Oberst scored six points and Schneider added four during that burst.
“We just have so much height inside between me and Emily Oberst. Every girl on the team is looking to get us in and with our perimeter shooters, we’re hard to stop,” Schneider says. “It means a lot to us, because we’ve all been playing for so long and to keep being successful at this stage in our lives, I feel like it means a lot to the whole team.”
Courtney Ryan led Arizona with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Amanda Rhodes added nine points. Adrina Castro had six points and one rebound, while Josie Aslakson had six points and three rebounds.
Central Florida Takes Military Division
Meanwhile, Central Florida went back to what it does well — getting the ball inside and playing scrappy defense — in the second half. And it led the Warriors to the inaugural NWBA Military Division wheelchair basketball title Sunday morning.
Central Florida’s Kevin Greene, Pierre Sturgis and Hector Varela each scored in double figures, and all three played key roles in the Warriors’ 43-35 championship game victory over Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) 1 at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Ala.
Central Florida (5-0) finished the round-robin tournament undefeated. Greene scored a game-high 16 points and had four rebounds in Sunday’s title tilt. Sturgis added 11 points and eight rebounds, and Varela scored 10 points, including eight in the second half, and had five rebounds.
Trailing 19-18 at halftime, Central Florida opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run — with four points from Ellis and two from Greene — and took a 24-19 lead with 6:05 left in the period. It marked its first lead since 1-0, and the Warriors didn’t lose it again.
Central Florida pushed its lead to 38-29 thanks to a Varela basket with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter before PVA 1 went on a 6-0 run — including four points from Freddie Smith and two from Perry Price — to cut the deficit to three (38-35) with 1:41 left.
But the Warriors scored the game’s final five points — with Greene hitting one-of-two free throws with 1:25 to go, Varela adding a basket with 1:01 left and Sturgis making a basket with 23.5 seconds left to close out the win. Most of his baskets came right at the free-throw line.
“I practice that a lot. They put the little man in front of me, too, and I’m going to shoot over him,” says Varela, a 53-year-old Navy veteran and an above-the-knee amputee.
Smith led PVA 1 with 12 points and had nine rebounds. Brent Garlic added eight points and had three rebounds. Robert Jones had seven points and four rebounds, and Price had six points and 15 rebounds.
Greene was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Sturgis joined him on the Military Division All-Tournament Team, along with Garlic, PVA 2’s Jhoonar Barrera and Jabrier Lee and ParaSport Spokane Warrior Team’s Anthony Farve. PVA 2’s William Greene received the Military Division Sportsmanship Award.
National Wheelchair Basketball Association
Women’s Division Tournament
No. 12 Cincinnati Dragons 26, No. 9 Angel City Sports 17The No. 1 seed WASA Marquette Lady Eagles defeated the No. 4 seed Arizona Storm, 71-52, Sunday afternoon to take home the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Women’s Division wheelchair basketball championship at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Ala. It marked their second straight Women’s Division title. 7th-Place Game
No. 10 Ability360 Mercury 45, No. 7 Seattle Storm 35
No. 5 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets Women’s 42, No. 6 Lakeshore Lightning 26
No. 4 Arizona Storm 50, No. 3 Dallas Lady Mavericks 39
No. 1 WASA Marquette Lady Eagles 71, No. 4 Arizona Storm 52
ParaSport Spokane Warrior Team 50, PVA 2 32
Central Florida Warriors 43, PVA 1 35