Army Captures Women's Basketball Championship
By Master Sgt. Mike Briggs, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, April 17, 2000 The Army women's basketball team won all six of its games in dominating style to capture the Women's Armed Forces Basketball Championship April 11 for the ninth year in a row.
A strong rebounding game and swarming defense propelled the soldiers to the championship with an average margin of victory of 35 points per game over the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy competition. The Marines posted a 4-2 mark to finish second, the Air Force was third with a 2-4 record and the Navy ended the double round-robin tournament fourth at 0-6.
"The key to our success is we never relax," said Sgt. Sylvia Williams, Army center. "I don't care if we have a 20- or 30- point lead. We never relax." The six-year Army player from Fort Hood, Texas, credited her coach, Master Sgt. Johnnie Pickett, for preparing the Army women.
"We work really hard before we get here," Williams said. "We have a real tough trial camp. We try to schedule our team against teams that are better than us, and it prepares us for play at this level."
Pickett, from Fort Hood, said he has no problems keeping his players focused during the armed forces rivalry.
"We understand that we're representing 495,000 soldiers in the Army, so it's easy to stay motivated when you think about that," said Pickett, who has been the Army head coach for 10 years.
The Army women have dominated the interservice basketball competition since its inception in 1978 with titles in 21 of the 23 previous championships.
Five players were picked for the championship all-star team. Williams was selected as center; 1st Lt. Carrie Wood from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., and Army Reserve Pfc. Evetta Crawford-Herring of Texas were picked as forwards; and 2nd Lt. Kallie Quinn from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and Cpl. Teri Jones from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., were named guards.
The all-stars, minus Wood, and eight others selected for the armed forces team traveled April 12 to compete in a national pro-am tournament in Florida. Rounding out the squad were Capt. Kim Kawamoto of Fort Meade, Md.; Sgt. Sharon Lyons and Spc. Coretta Chenault, both of Fort Hood; Spc. Carolyn Conkleton of Fort Jackson, S.C.; Spc. Felicia Griffin of Fort Benning, Ga.; Pfc. Akilah Rone from Kaiserslautern, Germany; Senior Airman Kerri Wilburn of Moron Air Base, Spain; and Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Carlotta Moore of Camp Butler, Japan.
Coaches were Pickett and Tech Sgt. Angie McCullough of Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
(Master Sgt. Mike Briggs is assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs Office, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.)