They are #1 — UA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Wins National Championship
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team ended their season on a high note as national champions by defeating the University of Illinois during the playoff tournament held March 18-20 in Denver.
The Crimson Tide Women’s Wheelchair basketball team finished their season with a 34-2 record. They held an undefeated season against women and their only losses went to the two games they played against men’s college teams at the start of the season.
After being named the 2009 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Champions, the team attended the Denver Nuggets game where they were special guests and recognized at the game.
This is the sixth season for the UA Wheelchair Athletics program. Alabama is one of 12 universities in the country that sponsors wheelchair athletics and the only university program in the Southeast.
At the start of the national tournament, the Tide had to win four games in three days to secure the championship title. The Tide started the competition with a tournament opening win over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 66-43. UA team members, Janet McLachlan, Stephanie Wheeler and Tara Feser contributed 30, 10 and 10 points each in the team’s victory.
Next up in the semi-finals, the Tide played Arizona. The Tide led the game by as much as 28 points in the second half, winning with a final score of 53-39. UA players McLachlan, Feser and Wheeler contributed 12, 14 and 11 points each in their team’s victory.
After the Tide’s victory over Arizona they were set to compete against top-ranked University of Illinois in a rematch from the 2008 National Championship where the Tide lost by one point on UI’s home court.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Tide with them trailing 11-0, but after halftime the Tide was leading 25-21. The game ended with the Tide closing out UI with a 52-36 win. The win over UI sent the Tide to the National Championship game for the second year in a row. The defeat also sent UI to the loser’s bracket in a double elimination. After winning the loser’s bracket, UI set up another rematch against the Tide. Like the previous game against UI, the Tide started off slow, but by halftime the Tide was leading 27-21 only turning the ball over once the entire game.
The Tide won their first national championship by a score of 53-39. McLachlan and Wheeler led the Tide in scoring with 24 and 16 points each in the championship game and Wheeler was named Tournament MVP.
For more information about Alabama Wheelchair Athletics, please visit the UAWA Web site at www.uads.ua.edu or contact Dr. Brent Hardin, UAWA director at 205/348-5109.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.