UWA's Evans not your normal freshman
SPARK PLUG University of West Alabama guard Tausha Evans, left, has stepped right in to play a major role for the Lady Tigers this season. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 20, 2001
LIVINGSTON, Ala. Something old and something new. And the West Alabama Lady Tigers are anything but blue these days.
Thank's to that something new, the Lady Tigers are off to a 6-1 start following Tuesday's thrilling 79-75 overtime win over Harding University at Pruitt Hall.
That new something is freshman guard Tausha Evans of Philadelphia who is just seven games into her collegiate basketball career. But in that short time, the former Neshoba Central High School standout has become a go-to player for coach Amanda Marks' team.
Against Harding, Evans was slowed by a muscle strain suffered during the tail-end of a Dec. 15 contest against Tuskegee.
Yet not even the injury could keep Evans out of the Harding contest. Though, regulated to coming off the bench, she still played 27 minutes and scored 10 points.
Six came during a crucial stretch of regulation play. With Harding making a strong run, Evans stopped it by making a 10-foot shot in the lane and then came back with a 14-footer with two minutes left. She capped her flurry by sinking two free throws with 13.2 seconds left to give UWA a three-point lead.
It was a good thing she made both shots because Harding's Mindy Frazier came down and sank a three-pointer at the horn to send the game into overtime.
So was she nervous at the line, with the game on the line?
The 4-for-4 game on Tuesday makes Evans 34 of 40 from the line for the year, a team best 85 percent.
The Lady Tigers are shooting 75.2 percent as a team and were 16 of 20 against Harding.
Evans, a 5-foot-2 guard, was a standout for Coach Billy Smith at Neshoba Central High School in Philadelphia. She helped lead the Rockets to a 30-10 record and a division championship.
She says she had some offers both from junior colleges and a couple of smaller Division I's, but West Alabama's proximity to her Mississippi home played a big part in her becoming a Lady Tiger.
The recruitment by former UWA Assistant and Alabama star Betsy Harris also played a role.
When Calhoun CC disbanded their program, Marks was left without a job. She applied for the West Alabama position and was hired.
Evidently it's been a good move for all concerned.
Through seven games, Evans is leading the Lady Tigers in scoring at 12.7 points per game. She has made 41 percent of her shots from the field and is second in steals with 13.
After taking the Christmas holiday off, the Lady Tigers will get a big test toward a road to the GSC title when they take on three-time defending conference champion Delta State.
The game is a part of the Mississippi University for Women's Holiday Tournament. MUW and Southern Arkansas are also entered.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at email@example.com.