Quakers women’s basketball ready for ODAC Tournament


Andrew Walker

Junior guar Alli Jackson shoots a three-pointer against William Peace University.//Photo By Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

Guilford’s women’s basketball team faces Shenandoah University in the quarterfinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday, Feb. 21. The Quakers are the first seed in the tournament after winning the regular-season title with a 16-2 conference record.

Guilford will face Shenandoah, who beat Bridgewater College on Tuesday, 79-60. Guilford beat Shenandoah 58-45 on Jan. 5 in their only matchup of the season. First-year guard Calyn Davis led the team with 14 points and junior forward Miracle Walters and first-year forward Lindsay Gauldin added 10 points apiece.

“They’re going to play a slower pace game, which actually might help us because we want to rest a bit. We don’t want to play a fast pace game the first day,” said head coach Stephanie Flamini. “Shenandoah has been beating teams here down the stretch that we didn’t expect that they would beat, so they are kind of hot right now. (…) They’ve been playing some good basketball since they lost to (Hollins University).”

The team is looking to win the school’s sixth ODAC championship, but Flamini has not put the pressure on them to win.

“We don’t put pressure on them to win anything,” Flamini said. “All we do is talk about how they put them in position to be really successful and what is that like, what does that mean. You know all you’ve got to do is win three games, and if you don’t, no one is going to be mad. But you have a great opportunity right now to win three games and a championship as a young team.”

Guilford has relied on a core of seven players this year for a majority of their minutes, and that small core’s stamina could be tested if the team makes it to the ODAC championship game. The semifinals are played Saturday and the championship would be on Sunday.

“We’re going to see if they can do it,” said Flamini. “They just have to do it. It’s like playing AAU. You got to go in and play.”

The Quakers were placed fourth in the ODAC preseason coaches’ poll and have exceeded expectations this season. Flamini expected it to be a down year for the team with a lot of new players joining the team.

“In the beginning part of the season, I thought it was going to be a down year because we were doing things that were just really youth-oriented,” said Flamini. “For instance, (at the start of the year) we had two scrimmages and they were god-awful, we were god-awful, we weren’t doing anything we practiced so I assumed that it was going to take them a really long time.”

The team started the season with a 2-3 record including a 56-46 loss to conference opponent Virginia Wesleyan University. The Quakers had a 14-point lead over the Marlins before squandering it in the fourth quarter.

“We looked exactly like we did in the scrimmages where we were throwing the ball right to the other team,” said Flamini. “That is when it hit home for everyone that we’re not going to win many games if we don’t change something.”

One of the players that stepped up after that game and throughout the rest of the year was first-year Lindsay Gauldin. After not scoring a point in 39 minutes of play against Virginia Wesleyan, Gauldin responded with 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight steals and five assists three nights later against Roanoke College. 

Gauldin stepped up for the rest of the season, averaging 13.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. She was the team leader in rebounds, assists and steals per game. Gauldin was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year and was placed on the All-ODAC second team. She has 11 double-doubles on the season, tied for eighth-most in school records for a season.

Walters leads the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game and was named first team All-ODAC, her second all-ODAC honor after being named to the second team last year. She shoots 55.7 percent from the field, second in the league, and has two double-doubles on the season.

Davis is the Quakers’ main threat from beyond the arc, making 51 threes and shooting 31.7 percent. She averages 9.9 points per game.

The Quakers have turned the season completely around. Since the loss to Virginia Wesleyan, the team has gone 18-2.

The team has key wins over second-seeded Emory & Henry College, 77-57, and third-seeded Washington and Lee University, 64-51. The team beat fourth-place Randolph-Macon College twice this season by scores of 60-53 and 57-41.

Flamini was named the ODAC Coach of the Year for her efforts with the team. This is the second time she has received the honor, the first coming in 2016. Flamini has led the team to three league titles and five ODAC Tournament finals in the past seven years.

The team is ranked ninth in the South Region of the NCAA Regional Ranks released Wednesday. At that spot the team has to win the ODAC Championship to get in the NCAA Tournament, as it will be very unlikely to receive an at-large bid as the ninth-place team. Winning the ODAC Tournament will give the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The last time the Quakers won the ODAC Tournament was in 2016-17 and hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Guilford has the talent to win the ODAC Tournament but will have to step up and play its best basketball for three games.

“You’re basically representing everybody who’s won a championship in the last few years and continuing that success, that’s all you’ve got to think about,” said Flamini. “It’s not about the other teams. It’s about continuing what Guilford has built.”