The unstoppable Lady Travellers basketball team finally took pause Sunday when they collected their trophies as the 2007 Washington Area Military Athletic Conference champions.
In their sophomore season in the WAMAC league, the Fort Lee women posted an undefeated record, and retained the championship title for a second year after defeating Fort Myer, 55-44, in the final.
The Lady Travellers also met the Lady Patriots in the first round of playoffs. Fort Myer proved a formidable opponent for Fort Lee, quickly amounting a 25-18 lead against the home team in the first half. The Lady Travellers faltered early and often on offense before mounting a second half revival. The Lady Travellers had a good day, however, at the foul line, shooting 74 percent in the game, and 13 free throw points within the final 20 minutes made the difference in their 51-46 win.
“None of our shots were falling,” said Lady Travellers coach Marvin Michael. “So at the break, we evaluated what Fort Myer was doing and what we weren’t doing. We adjusted to their ball-playing and came out victorious.”
Crista Henderson shot for 11 points in the win, and Jenille Clay and Joy Roberson each contributed 10 points for the Lady Travellers.
Jazz Stevenson earned a game high 17 points for the Lady Patriots and was the defensive roadblock that kept the Lady Travellers struggling.
“Defensively, we realized if we could disconnect Jazz with the ball, we could neutralize them,” said Michael. “Tish Henderson did a good job as our main defensive player, and Deia Washington continued to apply the pressure on them when we rotated Tish out.”
Fort Meade advanced with a 68-67 win over Walter Reed, but lost to the Lady Travellers, 58-51, in the next round. Crista Henderson led the Lady Travellers with a game high 26 points. Fort Meade’s Rosita Melbourne led her team with 17 points, while Dawn Lewis added 16 points.
Fort Myer, while ranked fourth in the WAMAC, eliminated the second and third place teams to meet the Lady Travellers again in the championship.
Tish Henderson and Deia Washington led an aggressive defense for the Lady Travellers, allowing the scoring prowess of Roberson, Crista Henderson and Clay to capitalize on open shots on net. Roberson recorded a game high 18 points, Clay shot 13 points (three 3-pointers), and Henderson added 11 in the 55-44 win.
“Winning two years in a row means a lot to us,” said Michael. “I feel that it means I’ve done a good job for the team, and it heaps a lot of credit on the ladies who play on this team, especially our returning players.”
After the Lady Travellers received the championship trophy, Crista Henderson was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Awards were announced by WAMAC director Brenda Hardaway and presented by Lt. Col. Jayme Sutton, 49th Quartermaster Group deputy commander.
At the opening ceremonies, Chaplain (Col.) James Walker gave the invocation, and the National Anthem was sung by Fort Lee’s Military Idol Staff Sgt. Quanda Brown.
With the addition of a second banner to be hung above the court at MacLaughlin Fitness Center, recognizing the Lady Travellers as WAMAC champs, Michael hopes the Fort Lee Men's Basketball Team will add their own banner to the wall. The Travellers Men's Basketball Team will compete Saturday and Sunday in the WAMAC Championships at Fort Myer, having earned the South Division Championship last weekend.
"I think the men's team will do well this weekend," said Michael. "It would be a welcome addition to have their banner on the wall with ours."
For more tourney photos, visit www.fortleetraveller.com.