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2004-11-17 16:24:35

Top NCAA Collegiate Women in 2nd Grand Bahama Junkanoo Jam

The 2004 Junkanoo Jam will again be one of the most competitive and sought after tournaments in women's college basketball.

The 2nd Annual Junkanoo Jam, Grand Bahama Island Women's Collegiate Basketball Tournament promises to be even more exciting than the inaugural version last year.  Over three hundred visitors including eight NCAA Division One Collegiate Basketball teams,  will travel to Grand Bahama Island and stay at the Sheraton at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, November 23 - 29th, 2004.

The 2004 Junkanoo Jam will again be one of the most competitive and sought after tournaments in women's college basketball.  The field includes Duke, Illinois State, Kansas State and Stephen F. Austin (Freeport Division) and Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa and Akron (Lucaya Division).

"The Ministry of Tourism is pleased to once again welcome this elite group of athletes and their families and supporters," said Mr. David L. Johnson, Director of Tourism for Grand Bahama Island.  "The fact that we are able to host them so soon after the September storms is a testament to the untold hours of hard work on the part of the public and private sector partners and their deep commitment to the tourism industry."  

Coordinated by the Washington State based Basketball Travelers Inc., the 2nd Annual Junkanoo Jam, Grand Bahama Island will also attract a number of sports writers from prestigious publications from around the United States.  

The tournament is formatted into two Grand Bahama Divisions, Freeport and Lucaya.  Four of last year's eight teams moved on from Grand Bahama advancing to the 2003 NCAA Tournament and one of the teams advanced as far as the elite eight.  

The Freeport Division Champion Penn State and the Lucaya Division Champion Minnesota both advanced to the 2003 NCAA tournament.  Penn State made it as far as the Elite Eight and Minnesota made it all the way to the Final Four.  Kansas State and George Washington also advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Once again the Freeport Division, 2004, showcases four very exciting teams with Duke, Illinois State, Kansas State and Stephen F. Austin University.  

Powerhouse Duke returns three starters from last year's team that advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Championship Tournament.  This year's All-American Candidates include guard Monique Currie and point guard Lindsey Harding.  Duke has made 11 appearances at the NCAA Championship Tournament.  The Blue Devils finished 30-4 in 2003-04 with a conference record of 15-1, finishing first in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  Their Final AP ranking was #1.

The Illinois State Redbirds look to continue to build off last year's 16-13 record.  Illinois State returns three senior starters-guard Jaci McCormack and forwards Katie Donovan and Erin Keeney--from a team that went from a 7-21 record in 2002-03 to 16-13 in 2003-04 under first-year head coach Robin Pingeton. The Redbirds had the nation's most improved record among the 40 NCAA Division I teams with new head coaches in 2003-04.

Kansas State is no stranger to Grand Bahama Island.  Last year the Wildcats played in the championship game in the Freeport Division and this year they look to bring home the title.  Three Kansas State starters are returning from last year's team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.  Kansas State again appears as a force to be reckoned with!  This year's All-American Candidates include guards Kendra Wecker and Lauri Koehn.  

Rounding out the Freeport Division are the Lady Jacks of Stephen F. Austin University.  Stephen F. Austin's rich basketball history includes, 17 NCAA appearances, and with 11 letter winners and all five starters returning from the 2003-04 season, Head Coach Lee Ann Riley has a solid foundation upon which to build.  

The Lucaya Division also boasts four very competitive teams with Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa and University of Akron.

Only 30 minutes away by plane, Florida Gators makes the short trip to Grand Bahama Island to battle for the Lucaya Championship.  Florida returns four starters from last year's team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.  Florida's All-American Candidate is forward Bernice Mosby.  The Gators finished 19-11 in 2003-04 with a conference record of 8-6, tying for 4th in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Following their fifth consecutive NCAA appearance, Oklahoma is also a contender for the Lucaya Division title.  After ending the 2003-04 season ranked 11th in the U.S. with a
24-9 record and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament, the Sooners are ready to pick up where they left off!  Oklahoma is led by guard Dionnah Jackson, another All-American Candidate.

The University of Iowa has completed a successful 2003-04 season, and is excited to bring their game to the people of the Grand Bahama Island this November.  Following a trip to the NCAA Championship tournament and a 16-13 mark last year, the Hawkeyes are ready to keep the ball rolling!  Iowa return with three starters, including All-American Candidate center Jamie Cavey.  

Completing the Lucaya Division is the University of Akron, who looks to improve last year's 7-21 record, with 11 players returning and all five starters back, Akron will be ahead of most teams for the 2004 season.  Guards Jae Conn and Lori Krezeczowski make a dynamic duo and with third year Head Coach Kelly Kennedy at the helm, it looks to be a very promising year for the Zips!

"We are thrilled to again, host such a fine tournament with such superb athletes," said David Morely, Bahamas Basketball Federation President.  "These ladies are wonderful examples for our future basketball players in the Bahamas and we hope the tournament continues to raise the interest for our younger players on the island.  As for the visiting coaches, players and fans we guarantee that they will not be disappointed with our pristine beaches, endless clear blue water and the friendly island locals."  

The Junkanoo Jam will be played over two days Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27, at the St. Georges High School Gym.  The Lucaya Division will be first up each day 1:00p.m. through 5pm; and the Freeport Division will compete from 6:00p.m through 10:00p.m. For more information or to download the tournament brackets please go to www.basketballtravelers.com.

 
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