Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Women's tournament

Clearwater's Hammond set for NCAA tourney

Liberty’s Rachel Hammond, center, starred at Clearwater High.

Associated Press

Liberty’s Rachel Hammond, center, starred at Clearwater High.

Sixty-four teams started the weekend in the NCAA Tournament with an eye on reaching the Final Four in Tampa, but only one has a player from the area: Liberty's Rachel Hammond, a junior guard from Clearwater. ¶ When Hammond chose Liberty, one of the draws was that the Flames had made the NCAA Tournament nine years in a row. She played in the tournament as a freshman, but didn't fully appreciate how much the postseason meant until last season, when the Flames lost in the Big South Conference semifinals.

"The big theme all season has been 'Earn It,' " said Hammond, averaging 5.4 points off the bench. "We knew we couldn't take playing in the tournament for granted, and it was an inspiration to us all season."

Liberty went 11-1 in conference play, but faced a new challenge in the last month as both starting forwards were lost to torn knee ligaments. The team has 6-foot-3 triplets on the roster — Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee — and Hammond said that's emblematic of a close-knit family of players.

"It's been a very enjoyable season, especially compared to last year, when we didn't make it to NCAAs," said Hammond, the Times Suncoast Player of the Year in 2005. "This junior class, playing together for three years now, we've really jelled a lot more this season."

As a No.  12 seed, Liberty faces long odds to survive the opening weekend, but the Flames made the Sweet 16 in 2005 as a No.  13, so anything's possible. They open tonight against fifth seed Old Dominion.

Floridians in the NCAA women's tourney

Player Hometown College (seed)

Lady Comfort Pensacola Temple (11)

Sylvia Fowles Miami LSU (2)

Lashonda Gains Margate Jackson State (15)

Kendra Goodley Deerfield Beach West Virginia (5)

Alysha Harvin Dania Florida State (11)

Erlana Larkins Riviera Beach North Carolina (1)

Jessica Magley Bradenton W. Kentucky (10)

Der-ryka Martin Deltona Xavier (9)

Pamela McCorvey Pensacola Auburn (11)

Jacinta Monroe Fort Lauderdale Florida State (11)

Krystal Thomas Orlando Duke (3)

Tabitha Turner Miami Georgia Tech (10)

Erica White Jacksonville LSU (2)

Shante Williams Jacksonville Florida State (11)

Shavonte Zellous Orlando Pittsburgh (6)

Clearwater's Hammond set for NCAA tourney 03/22/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2008 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.