What a difference a year makes.
A year ago at this time the Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball team was suffering through a season-ending seven-game losing streak.
The Lady Colonels finished the season 6-21 overall and 3-15 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
EKU failed to finish in the top eight and missed out on participating in the OVC tournament.
Fast forward to this year.
At 12-12, EKU has already doubled the number of wins from last season.
More importantly, the Lady Colonels are 7-6 in conference play, tied for fifth with Murray State.
Even more importantly, the Lady Colonels have already clinched a spot in this year’s OVC tournament.
Eighth-place Tennessee State is 4-10 and Austin Peay and SEMO are tied for ninth with 3-10 records.
With just three games remaining, the worst EKU can finish is 7-9 in seventh-place.
But after the success the Lady Colonels have had this season, they are not looking to back into the tournament.
EKU finishes the season by playing against three teams ahead of them in the standings and have a shot to move into the top four and receive a first-round bye in the OVC tournament.
First up is Saturday’s contest at Tennessee Tech (9-5) then home games next week against SIU Edwardsville (9-4) and Eastern Illinois (12-1).
Junior Alex Jones had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists during a 78-68 victory Saturday against Morehead State.
For the season, Jones is averaging 9.1 points and eight rebounds.
Jones is seventh all-time at EKU with 687 rebounds and is 54 points away from becoming the 21st Lady Colonel to score 1,000 points.
Jones is fifth in OVC games in rebounding at 8.7 per game and is 14th in steals at 1.4 per game.
Sophomore Marie Carpenter has led the team all year in points, averaging 13.7.
Carpenter is 13th in the OVC in scoring at 13.5 points per game.
Carpenter is the top free throw shooter in the conference at 89.4 percent and is fifth in three-point shooting at 36.8 percent.
Several new faces have made a major impact this season.
Junior transfers Jade Barber and Raechele Gray have been huge for the Lady Colonels.
Barber, at 6-2, has been a force inside, averaging 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
In OVC games, Barber is 15th in scoring (12.5), ninth in rebounding (7.2), is seventh in blocks and leads the conference in field goal percentage (63.8 percent).
Gray has played point guard, where she has averaged 8.8 points, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals.
Gray is 10th in the OVC in assists (3.7), 10th in free throw percentage (78.9), ninth in assist/turnover ratio and 14th in steals (1.4)
Role players have also been huge for EKU, led by junior Brittany Coles (6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists), freshman Carla Booth (5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists), junior LaRa’e Allen (4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds), junior Jasmine Stovall (four points, 3.4 rebounds) and junior Jalisa Bryant (2.1 points, 1.1 assists).
All this has spelled success on the court for the Lady Colonels.