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Bradley Hilltopics

Summer 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 3  

Sports Scene
Softball advances to the NCAA regional | Watonga award renamed for “Ozzie” | House-Browning named interim A.D. | Top coach in the valley | Radio broadcaster was first in coaches’ hall of fame | Surprise finish | Save the dates: Nov. 27 &28

 

Top coach in the valley

By JUSTIN PHELPS ’05

Paula Buscher

Paula Buscher, who is the second winningest coach in the women’s basketball program’s history, instructs MICHELLE LUND ’12 and RAISA TAYLOR ’11. Photo by Bob Hunt.

 

The 2008–2009 Bradley women’s basketball team set the bar. And they set it high.

This year’s team secured the program’s first 20-win season since 1979–80. They had 21 victories and a program-record six-game winning streak. Bradley’s fourth place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference was its best since the 1991–92 season. “I think that’s probably the biggest compliment I can give this year’s group: They’ve set the standard now,” said coach Paula Buscher, who in her ninth year at Bradley, was named MVC coach of the year, another first in program history. “The first week back after Spring Break, they’re coming in talking about the NCAA tournament games and still wanting to be playing. They’re bringing another level of competitiveness, which is what we really need.”

The team achieved success through selfless attitudes and highly competitive training despite playing “home” games at Illinois Central College in East Peoria while the new Athletic Performance Center is being constructed.

"I know my name is on it, but it’s not about me. It’s about the collectiveness of a great staff and the collectiveness of a great team."
—Paula Buscher
MVC Coach of the Year

When one player noticed a teammate spending time perfecting her game after practice, she found more time to work on her own game. And when a player needed encouragement or was struggling, a teammate was there to be supportive. “This truly was a team that didn’t care who got the credit, night in, night out,” Buscher said.“You hear it in some of the quotes in the press, but you see it more in conversation with them. They would say, ‘Whatever I need to do,’ or ‘So and so was struggling that night, so it was my job to step in and see if I could help her out. She’s helped me out before.’ I not only think they truly believed it, but they walked it.”

The dedication resulted in an MVC semifinal appearance, in a game that ended in overtime after the Braves held a 20-point lead. “We feel like it ended too soon,” Buscher said of the season. Still, the individual accolades were plentiful. Along with Buscher’s MVC coaching award, MONICA ROGERS ’09 was selected to the all-Missouri Valley Conference first team; SONYA HARRIS ’11 was picked to the all-Valley second team; SKYE JOHNSON ’10 was a third-team all-Valley selection; and MICHELLE LUND ’12 was named to the Valley’s all-freshman team. Harris and Johnson were also selected to the league’s all-defensive squad.

twitter Follow Bradley women’s basketball on Twitter: @BradleyBravesWB.

 

Radio broadcaster was first in coaches’ hall of fame

The late MORT CANTOR ’49, the “Voice of Peoria Sports,” became Bradley’s first full-time sports information director in 1949. In 1955, Mort started calling Bradley basketball play-by-play with WIRL radio, continuing for 29 years. A vice president and general manager of WIRL Radio until 1983, he continued broadcasting at WXCL until 1985, and then hosted a talk show on WTAZ for three years. He was the first broadcaster inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A Woodruff High School graduate, Mort was co-founder of the Bradley Chiefs Club and served as president for five years.

 

Softball advances to the NCAA regional | Watonga award renamed for “Ozzie” | House-Browning named interim A.D. | Top coach in the valley | Radio broadcaster was first in coaches’ hall of fame | Surprise finish | Save the dates: Nov. 27 &28