Submitted by Glenville State University
Throughout last week, the Glenville State University Lady Pioneers were recognized and congratulated for their recent NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship win.
On April 6, the team held a meet and greet with fans at the GSU Waco Center before being honored with a parade in downtown Glenville. The streets were lined with members of the community, Glenville State faculty, staff, and students, and elementary, middle, and high school students from Gilmer, Braxton, Calhoun, and Harrison Counties. Following the parade, the team was recognized with a ceremony at the Waco Center. They were presented with commemorative necklaces by Glenville Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick and Gilmer County Superintendent Patty Lowther, a symbolic presentation on behalf of the community. Coach Kim Stephens also received a citation from Delegate Brent Boggs on behalf of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Before the new national championship banner was unveiled inside the Waco Center, West Virginia University head men’s basketball coach, Bob Huggins, spoke to the crowd and offered his congratulations to the Lady Pioneers.
On April 7 the team traveled to Charleston where they were recognized by Mayor Amy Schuler Goodwin and presented with a key to the city. The team members were greeted at Haddad Riverfront Park by students and coaches from George Washington High School, Charleston Catholic High School, West Side Middle School, Horace Mann Middle School, and John Adams Middle School. The Lady Pioneers signed basketballs that were then presented to each of the schools in attendance.
“It is with great pleasure that I recognize the tremendous accomplishments of the Glenville State University Lady Pioneers Basketball Team,” Mayor Goodwin said. “For the past five years, the Lady Pioneers have made it to the Mountain East Conference Tournament and this season they earned a spot at the NCAA Division II tournament. What they have achieved as a team is truly inspiring, especially for our young female athletes. I was pleased to present to Coach Stephens and her team with a key to the City of Charleston,”
Following those events, the team met with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice where he presented Distinguished West Virginian Awards to each of the Lady Pioneers, Coach Stephens, and Assistant Coaches Adrianna Bendick and Angel Rizor. The Distinguished West Virginian Award is the highest civilian honor that the governor can bestow.
“It is truly amazing what you’ve accomplished,” Justice said to the Lady Pioneers. “This moment is unbelievable and that’s just all there is to it. Think about how many opportunities West Virginia has had to win a national championship in basketball…and how many have we won? We’ve won one now. You’ve done something that has never been done before. It is amazing beyond belief.”
“This team made it look easy, but they worked really, really hard for it. They were phenomenal all year long, but they worked for it. They put the work in…they earned it,” Stephens said. “There are so many thank yous to go around because there are so many people who do so much for us and I just want each of them to know how much it means to me and the team. Above all, I have to thank our fans. They are so special and they make what we do fun. It is so rare to see that kind of support in women’s basketball…we are at the best women’s basketball institution in the country here at Glenville, and that’s because of our fans.”
“Not only in Glenville, in Gilmer County, in North Central West Virginia…but all throughout West Virginia, this team has become a statewide phenomenon. We are immensely proud of these student athletes, certainly because they are champions, but also because they are good students and simply they are good people,” said Glenville State University President, Dr. Mark A. Manchin. “Speaking on behalf of Glenville State University, I’m very appreciative of all of the support that our friends and neighbors around the Mountain State have shown these ladies.”
On March 25 the Lady Pioneers closed their amazing 35-1 season with a win over Western Washington University to become the 2022 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Champions. Glenville State’s Re’Shawna Stone was named MVP of the Division II Women’s Elite Eight and Head Coach Kim Stephens was honored as the Division II Women’s Basketball National Coach of the Year.
It was the first NCAA title for Glenville State in any sport and also the first NCAA basketball title for any West Virginia school. Stephens, who is a Glenville State alumnus and Parkersburg native, has tallied an impressive 158-21 record leading the Lady Pioneers.