Byline: FRANCINE KING, The Times-Union
Edward Waters College guard Ruth Waters hopes she can make a special phone call on Wednesday after the Lady Tigers' first-round NAIA tournament game.
Waters, 25, wants to be able to tell her son, Nathaniel Williams, the same thing she said after the Lady Tigers' conference championship game: "Mommy won!"
She said it would make a nice birthday present for Nathaniel, who turns 5 today.
EWC (11-15) enters the NAIA tournament as the No. 8 seed in Quarter 1. The 32-team field is broken into four eight-team quarters.
The Lady Tigers will face No. 1 seed Vanguard (Calif.) in the first round at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Jackson, Tenn.
EWC earned the automatic NAIA bid with its 70-46 victory over Allen University in the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship on March 5.
Waters' call to her son after that game was special not only because of the win, but also because Waters, a 5-foot-4 sophomore, was named the tournament MVP.
She posted a season-high, team-leading 19 points in the tournament final.
"I was more depended on [in that game]," she said. "I felt like I had to come through."
But entering the tournament, Waters was far from a statistical leader. Despite being a starter, she averaged only three points and 1.3 rebounds per game in the regular season.
Lady Tigers coach Regina Mosley said Waters gave EWC the spark it needed at the right time.
"That weekend she played with a lot of confidence," Mosley said. "She put the team on her back, and she just really became a leader on the floor, which is something we lacked all season."
That leadership was something Waters wouldn't have been able to provide, if she'd had her way earlier in the season. …