Gulf Coast women’s basketball grateful to be going back to national tournament

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Gulf Coast women’s basketball team is going dancing.

They received an at-large bid to this year’s national tournament on Sunday night and this team wants to show everybody there that they deserve their spot on the big stage regardless of their 12-9 record.

“I was looking at the bracket earlier this morning and you see one loss, two loss, three loss, Woah, nine loss, Gulf Coast and you see we’re a 15 seed. I can guarantee you, I’ve been going to this tournament many years in a row, we are the best 12-9 team that’s ever been. We’re the best 15 seed that’s ever been,” Gulf Coast head coach Cayla Petree said.

The Commodores are actually the only team in this year’s bracket with nine losses.

However, the record doesn’t tell the whole story. Their losses this year coming to just two teams, Chipola and Northwest Florida, the No. 3 seed and No. 5 seed in the tournament.

That’s why the team said they aren’t really worried about the number by their name on the bracket.

“Anything can happen like the lower seeds can beat the top seeds and upset teams and I think we are able to accomplish that and change everyone’s perspective of what they thought about us,” Gulf Coast shooting guard Laila Grant said.

Getting back to Lubbock means a lot to the Sophomores, who got in the tournament last year, but never got to play in it because it was canceled due to COVID-19.

“We didn’t get a chance to go cause of COVID, I was also injured so I wouldn’t have got to play but my team would have, so it gives me a chance to have that opportunity to go and see how far I can go with the team,” Grant said.

It’s also a special trip for their Coach as it’s a homecoming for her.

“I went to school at Texas Tech, I coached at South Plains, so I have a lot of people there that love and support me so personally I’m very excited to go and I want to show them what I left them for,” Petree said.

The team is taking on the No. 18 seed Miles in the first round of the tournament.

Even though the Commodores have a whole week to prepare for that contest, they still feel ready to take on whoever is thrown their way.

“We’re battle tested, we’re ready to go, there’s not a team better than Northwest Florida and we were able to come together and beat them, so the field is ours,” Petree said.

Their first round game against Miles is set for April 19 at 3 p.m.

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