UT Tyler looking to advance to Elite 8

photo by Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph University of Texas at Tyler Women's Basketball coach Kevin Baker is taking his team to Walla Walla, Washington.

The UT Tyler women's basketball likes the sound of Sweet 16.

But they would love to hear Elite Eight and Final Four.

The Patriots' history-making journey continues today in the NCAA Division III Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash.

No. 17 UT Tyler (27-3) takes on No. 1 Thomas More (Ky.) College (30-0) at 7 p.m. (CDT) at Sherwood Athletic Center on the campus of Whitman College.

No. 7 Whitman College (28-1) will host No. 20 Christopher Newport (Va.) University (24-5) in the second game about 9 p.m.

The winners will faceoff on Saturday with a Final Four trip at stake. Game time is 9 p.m. (CDT).

Second-year Patriot coach Kevin Baker is elated about the way his team is playing.

"It feels really good (to be in the Sweet 16) because this team was able to set some goals early and actually accomplish the goals they set," Baker said. "We got through with our first set of goals and now have a new set of goals. We're riding high right now; we are four games away from a ational championship and it feels good to have the opportunity to be there."

UT Tyler's Brittany King, a junior forward from Dallas, has been dominant in the first two games of the tournament, averaging 24.5 points and 13.5 rebounds.

King led the Patriots with a double-double in both NCAA tournament games played in Memphis, Tenn. Against Maryville (Tenn.), King scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the game in both categories. Junior guard Teylor Seals had 15 points and knocked down a game-high three treys. In the win over host Rhodes College, King scored a season-high 33 points and pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to record her American Southwest Conference league-leading 14th double-double of the season. Junior guard Jasmine Baskin led the game with three treys.

The Patriots have won 14 consecutive games, a new program record, and have given up just 58.5 points a game in the tournament.

UT Tyler's defense will be given another tough task against Thomas More. The Saints are averaging 95.5 points per game.

The Saints feature the nation's top scorer in Sydney Moss, who is averaging 28.6 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. She is the daughter of former NFL great Randy Moss. The former Miss Kentucky Basketball played at the University of Florida and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

After a year in Gainesville, she elected to transfer to near her hometown and opted for the D-III Saints.

Junior Jenny Burgoyne is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Saints.

"They have probably the best Division III player in the country in Sydney Moss," Baker said. "They play a unique brand of basketball where they scramble press you and try to make you play faster.

"We certainly have our work cut out for us. I hope in their practices they are having to worry about what we do as well."

Thomas More has made 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including eight in-a-row since the 2007 season.

"I can't help and think that two of the best teams in the country right now are playing," Baker said. "I've been upset about that. There is nothing you can do about the tournament format. I feel right now the way we are playing we are one of the better teams in the country. It would have been nice to have played (Thomas More) later on, but you have to beat them sooner or later and it might as well be now."

PATRIOT POINTS: UT Tyler has never played Thomas More, Whitman or Christopher Newport on the basketball court. … Thomas More is a Catholic liberal arts institution located in Crestview Hills, Ky., about 10 minutes south of Cincinnati. The school has around 1,900 full and part-time students. The college was originally founded in 1921 by the Benedictine Sisters as Villa Madonna College. … In 1969, the school moved from downtown Covington to its current location and renamed Thomas More College. This name was chosen because Thomas More was a scholar, statesman and layman committed to selfless public service and canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Though the college opened in January 1968, the crowning moment of the relocation and renaming of the college came in that same year during dedication ceremonies held on Sept. 28 with President Lyndon B. Johnson in attendance. … The University of Texas at Tyler is a coeducational public university located. Founded in 1971, it is a component institution of the University of Texas System. … UT Tyler consists of four professional colleges and one traditional college of arts and sciences, offering more than 90 academic degree programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. UT Tyler is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university has a student body of 6,700, a 17:1 student to faculty ratio, and a park-like campus centered around Harvey Lake.












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I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.