Coach Eckleberry Named MEC Coach of the Year

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Coach Eckleberry Named MEC Coach of the Year

Danny Kremen

On Monday, March 2, Shepherd University women’s basketball head coach Jenna Eckleberry was named the 2015 Mountain East Conference coach of the year.

“It’s a great award to win,” Eckleberry said. “I wish I could give it to the team and the coaching staff.”

This was Eckleberry’s first year with Shepherd, as well as her first year being a head coach. She spent the last seven seasons with Fairmont State University as an assistant coach.

Last year, the Lady Rams finished the season 4-23. The university decided against bringing back Antoinette West, who coached the team last year.

Eckleberry was announced the team’s new coach on May 13, 2014.

Before the season even started, Eckleberry remained confident in her team’s abilities.

“We try not to compare anything to last season,” she said in an interview before the season. “It is a fresh new start for everyone. Our focus is on this year and taking one game at a time.”

The team responded, and raced out to a 4-1 start, which was the best start in 15 years for the team.

The Lady Rams finished the regular season 20-8 overall and 17-5 in the conference, clinching a split of the MEC title. They closed out the regular season winning seven of their final eight games.

“I just want to thank the whole team for doing everything,” she said.

Shepherd entered the postseason with the second seed in the MEC tournament. They were able to earn a win over Glenville State in the quarterfinals before their season ended with a loss to Notre Dame College in the semifinals.

Following the MEC tournament, the Lady Rams were selected to play in the NCAA division II tournament, ranking seventh in the Atlantic Region.

Senior guard Rachel Johnson and sophomore guard Cara Mason were also recognized by the Mountain East Conference, as they were named Second Team All-MEC.

Johnson leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.4 points per game.

Mason is second on the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game, and leads the team in assists, averaging 4.9 per game.