If you had the opportunity to attend a college game that the home team has won two consecutive NAIA Division II national championships, has a head coach and two starters from the Southside and is only about a 20-minute drive, would you go? I do.
Marian University is located on the Northwestside, and its women’s team is coached by Katie Gearlds, who led Beech Grove to the 3A basketball championship in 2003 and was named Miss Basketball in doing so.
She attended Purdue and was the Big Ten tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 2007. She played in the WNBA and overseas.
Gearlds is 118-32 in her five years with the Knights, including a 7-1 start this year.
Two of her starters, senior and leading scorer Kellie Kirkhoff and sophomore Rachel Titzer, played at Roncalli. Kellie and Rachel are averaging 17.5 and 4.5 points a game, respectively.
I attended Marian’s game against Indiana University East on Nov. 14, and the Knights won 81-58 behind Kellie’s 19 points.
I enjoy sitting behind the Marian bench, ... and sometimes I even understand what is going on. Coach Gearlds had an exciting discussion with one of the referees during the first half. I think she got her point across. After the technical shots were taken, things seemed to get better.
I enjoy watching the coaches and players when they are laughing and enjoying themselves. It’s apparent that this is a close-knit team. That even seems to apply to former players, including Laken Hasser-Smith, who graduated in 2016 and now serves as an assistant to Gearlds. I also spotted Jenna Sullivan, a 2017 graduate, taking pictures.
It’s fun to see so many friends, family members of coach Gearlds and former Roncalli players at the games.
I missed the team’s contest the following night, but I don’t think the ladies needed me to cheer them on to victory. They defeated Simmons College of Kentucky 107-22, yes, that’s correct.
Kellie and Sarah Corbin each scored 20 points. Marian’s reserve players saw more time than the starters.
The ladies have a trip to Florida for a couple of games and then a game at St. Francis (Ind.) before their next home tilt against Spring Arbor (Mich.) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.
Plan to attend a game. I hope to see you there.