Sports Talk: Rowe gets a thumbs up

Krissy Rowe was grimmacing during warmups before the start of the second half.

“I was giving high fives in the layup line, and one of my teammates hit my thumb (accidentally), and it hurt pretty bad,” said Marietta College’s 5-foot-7 senior point after the Lady Pioneers defeated John Carroll University, 71-61, in an Ohio Athletic Conference regular-season finale at Ban Johnson Arena on Saturday.

Rowe wore a small brace on her left hand, though, and was able to tough it out and play without too much discomfort. Fact is, she had a great all-around game, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out a game-high four assists.

“It was my left hand, luckily,” said Rowe, who is naturally right-handed.

Marietta head coach Stacia Shrider said afterward she was very proud of her team’s effort, and especially happy for Rowe in her final game in a Lady Pioneer hoops uniform at Ban Johnson Arena. (Rowe, incidentally, is also a standout track and field athlete at MC.)

“Krissy Rowe on her senior day gave us so much,” Shrider said. “You couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Before Saturday’s opening tip-off, Rowe, along with student assistant coaches’ Zane Eschbaugh and Tyler Bates, and student manager Jami Thomas were all recognized.

Rowe, a biology major at MC, was escorted to center court by a family entourage, which included her parents (Susan Rowe-Finley and John Finley of Toledo). Some had journeyed a great distance to see her play.

“Twenty people, I think came,” said Rowe, smiling. “One brother actually drove down from Boston, Massachusetts. “They all came down for me, and I appreciate it.”

While Rowe’s basketball playing days are done at BJA, the Marietta College women’s basketball team still has some work to do when it tips off OAC Tournament competition at John Carroll University at 6 p.m. tonight.

The Lady Pioneers, who have won four of their last five games, could be a team to keep an eye on in tournament play.

“Coach (Shrider) has said all year that we don’t need to be playing our best basketball right now,” Rowe said. “But at the end of the year when that tournament comes, we want to be peaking. And, I feel like we are, so…it’s exciting for the tournament to come around.”

Rowe paused.

“It was a lot of fun (Saturday),” she continued. “We’re playing really well right now, just before the tournament. We’re pretty hot right now. I wouldn’t want to play us right now.”

And, make no mistake about it, Rowe, even with a hurt thumb, will play hard – like she has during her entire basketball career at MC.

“You know, I tell people all the time that this was the best decision to transfer here to Marietta College, because I went to Toledo for a semester,” Rowe said. “I will never ever regret coming here.”

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com