Dishin & Swishin 3/3/16 Podcast: Army’s Kelsey Minato and West Viriginia’s Bria Holmes are two seniors leading the way to postseason success
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Finally we have made it to March, and conference tournament madness is underway. Regular seasons are ending, conference tournaments are starting, and record books are being rewritten along the way.
On today’s Dishin & Swishin podcast we have two seniors that are leading their teams into the postseason on and off the court. At Army West Point, Kelsey Minato is the new Patriot League all-time leading scorer. At West Virginia, Bria Holmes is a first team All-Big 12 selection.
First, Minato returns for her second appearance on the podcast; her first was a freshman when she left the California sun for upstate New York, following a family history of military experience. Fast forward four years, and Minato is now the leading scorer in the history of the Patriot League, breaking Molly Creamer’s record last night. On senior night, Minato became the first active player in Army West Point women’s basketball history to have her number retired and raised to the rafters.
The Black Knights finished the regular season 26-2, tied with Bucknell for top spot in the Patriot League and the top seed in the conference tournament due to tie-breakers. That means they will host all of their tournament games, where they are 14-0 for the season. They are a senior heavy team, and have been to either the WNIT or NCAA tournament each year of their careers.
With all the accolades and records Minato has achieved, plus an oustanding ability to score (6th in the country) and bury both three-pointers (2nd best percentage made in the country) and free throws (19th in the country), the WNBA would be beckoning. Minato would love to play in the WNBA, but has a military obligation in her future. West Point reviews the facts and circumstances of each petition for deferral of military service, but it is an unknown if the WNBA is an acceptable reason. Accordingly, for someone to draft Minato, they are risking the chance she will not be able to join their team immediately, if at all.
No such question about the WNBA awaits Holmes. One of the most athletic players in the nation this year, at least one WNBA coach says that she is at least a top ten to top fifteen draft pick.
On her first visit to Dishin & Swishin, Holmes talks about going from New Haven, Connecticut to Morgantown, West Virginia, quite the different environment. Playing under Mike Carey, her game has improved each year, culminating in her unanimous all-conference selection this year, after she finished second in scoring at 16.9 points per game, good for third all-time at the school.
If you thought Minato had a special senior night with the surprise retirement of her jersey, how about the one Holmes had. After dropping 27 points to defeat 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State, while being interviewed on television, Holmes’ boyfriend Oterrious Diggins asked her to marry him, which she accepted. In the same game, she became the only player to score 500 or more points in three different seasons at West Virginia.
West Virginia enters the Big 12 tournament as the number three seed, behind top ten teams Baylor and Texas. They open against Kansas State in the quarterfinals, who they beat twice earlier this season by an average of 19.5 points per game.
In addition to their successes, they are two of ten finalists for the Senior CLASS Award this season.
From the award’s website, CLASS is “an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of NCAA Division I senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.”
Both student-athletes exemplify those standards, and would be outstanding choices for the award. Good luck to both, including in the postseason.
Enjoy the podcast!