by Alexis Barton
After finding success in the regular season, the men’s and women’s basketball are positioned for stellar performances in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference playoffs. The women (20-5, 15-3 ODAC) are ranked as the #3 seed headed into their tournament and the men (17-8, 9-7 ODAC) are in the #5 position headed into their postseason. Both teams have performed well against conference opponents thus far, but with a championship on the line, it’s time for the Maroons to bring their very best to the court.
On Thursday, the men’s team faced off against #4 Washington & Lee. Though the Generals are not the fiercest team in the men’s side of the ODAC, they proved to be a tough competitor for the Maroons. Led in their offense by Kasey Draper, the Maroons put on a strong showing in the first game of the tournament. The team was able to show off their offensive threats, including first-team All-ODAC Draper and Justin Kuthan. Joshua McClary pulled his weight at the three-point line, where he shot 100% for Roanoke. The game tightened up in the second half, but it was nothing that the Maroons couldn’t handle. The team proudly marched off the court with a 82-69 victory. They head into the semifinals where they will take on #1 seed Randolph-Macon. Both teams have spent the bulk of their season in the Division III Top 25 this season, so it will undoubtedly be a fantastic game.
On Friday evening, the women’s team will go head-to-head with perhaps their biggest rival, the Lynchburg Hornets. The Maroons have fared well against the Hornets so far this season, beating them twice in the regular season by a margin of at least ten points each time. After illness struck the team midway through the season and a few tough losses, the Maroons are rejuvenated and feel confident in their abilities as a group. The team is led by two All-ODAC honorees, Renee Alquiza and Kristina Harrell, who were named to the first and second teams, respectively. These two Maroons have bolstered the team throughout the season but have been of particular support as the Maroons wrapped up their regular season games with four consecutive wins. The duo are atop several leaderboards in the conference, with Harrell’s field-goal percentage ranking her second (55.2%), and Alquiza’s three-point percentage ranking her first in the conference (48.3%).
With the talent on both of these teams, it will be an exciting time for Roanoke fans as the ODAC playoffs ramp up. Be sure to come support your Maroons at the Salem Civic Center starting on February 24th. Admission for all Roanoke College students is free when you present your Maroon Card at the ticket booth. Be loud and be proud! Go Maroons!