Sun Belt: stAting Their Claim to NCAA Glory

By Jean Neuberger - October 24, 2006

Brian Boyer has brought Arkansas State to new heights in women's basketball. Now, as he begins a new season, Boyer looks ready to aim even higher in Jonesboro, as the Lady Indians see the NCAA Tournament in their future.

The Lady Indians, for the first time in school history, have been picked first in the Sun Belt Western Division.

"It's fun to be the top seed in the West," Boyer said. "It's fun for the players, and it's really a tribute to our seniors."

One of those seniors is Adrienne Davie, who has been a consistent leader for the team.

"You can't say enough good things about Adrienne," said Boyer. "She'll leave Jonesboro being in the top 10 in scoring, first in rebounds, first in blocks. She'll probably be in the WNBA next year; she's THAT good. The fun part about coaching her though, is that every day, she's getting better. She improves her game every single day."

The Lady Indians have also been successful in bringing some of the bigger programs to play in Jonesboro.

"We got Missouri and Missouri State to play us here last year," said Boyer. "We're getting Alabama, Purdue, and Oklahoma State to come to Jonesboro as well. One great thing about the women's game is that the major programs still have no problems going on the road to face the smaller programs."

However, with a rabid fan base and continued success, ASU is becoming a stronger program each season.

"In the last two years, we've taken off," said Boyer. "We're in the top 50 in attendance, and season tickets are being bought well ahead, more and more each year. It's a tribute to our kids, who really are doing things the right way."

Boyer thinks the Lady Indians can fulfill the predictions, as long as the interior play keeps being strong.

"We had trouble whenever Adrienne would get in foul trouble," he said. "We've got some depth now though, so hopefully those troubles are a thing of the past."

As for the NCAA Tournament, Boyer points to George Mason's success on the men's side as a motivator for his team.

"George Mason proved the little guys can do it," he said. "(Southwest) Missouri State made it to the Final Four a few years ago. Arkansas is a big program, but they made it to the Final Four as a nine seed. Middle Tennessee came close to beating Utah, and Utah went pretty far last year. Anything can happen."

And if the Lady Indians play to their potential, it could be a deep run in the Big Dance for Arkansas State.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 02:24 PM on October 24, 2006

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