The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 11, 2013

Bates SWOSU bound; Crowl, Beasler also sign

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Three NOC Enid Lady Jets took the next step in their careers Thursday by signing letters of intent with four-year colleges.

Second-team All-American Chelsea Bates signed with NCAA Division II power Southwestern Oklahoma State.

Enid native Regan Crowl signed with Hillsdale Freewill Baptist College and Christa Beasler signed with Oklahoma Wesleyan College.

Bates will be playing for Kelsi Musick at SWOSU, whom she played against while at Thomas when Musick was coaching at Canton.

“She’s a really nice coach and I really like her,’’ said Bates of Musick, who took SWOSU to the Division II national tournament this season.

“I really like the girls and the environment and it being close to home. I wasn’t set on Southwestern from the beginning, but after going on a visit there and meeting the girls and the coaches made me realize I like it there. I’m excited to be a Lady Bulldog next year.’’

NOC Enid coach Scott Morris said Bates “should do great things’’ in SWOSU’s dribble-and-drive system. The Lady Bulldogs are graduating only three players.

“They will be a very good team,’’ Bates said. “I know I will have to work to get my spot. I can’t just step on the court. I hope I can contribute. I do feel I fit in well with that system.’’

Bates virtually willed the Lady Jets to the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championship after injuries and illness had NOC Enid down to six healthy players at one point. Marsiah Wallace, who signed with Oklahoma State in November, was out much of the second half with illness.

She was the Region II Most Valuable Player after averaging 12.1 points, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 3.4 rebounds. Bates shot 47.9 percent from the field, 52 percent from 3-point range and 78.5 percent from the line.

“I grew up a lot on and off the court,’’ Bates said. “A lot was thrown on my shoulders this year because I was the only one who had played a lot the last two years. It was a lot more responsibility, but I embraced it. I just tried to do my best.’’

Bates is the school’s eighth All-American in its 12-year history.

“I feel really blessed about it,’’ she said. “It’s one of my biggest dreams and goals.’’

Crowl, a starter for the second half of the season, averaged 5.4 points and 1.4 rebounds. as a sophomore.

Crowl had been planning to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University as a student only, but that changed when Hillsdale Freewill Baptist contacted her after seeing her play Ecclessia Nov. 10 in a tournament at Broken Arrow.

“Coach (Saints coach Hannah) Owen said how they liked how I played and my work ethic,’’ Crowl said. “They were really interested in me and wanted me to come for a visit.’’

She had tried out at Southwestern Christian in Bethany, which also contacted her, but decided on Hillsdale after seeing her future teammates win and lose a game.

“I saw how they reacted,’’ Crowl said. “It really felt like home, that this is where I belong and where I want to be next year. All the girls were real welcoming. The boys coach talked with me. I talked to the parents. It felt like a second home.’’

Beasler came back from a torn ACL last year, to average 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and .9 steals

She was attracted to Oklahoma Wesleyan’s Bartlesville camp by its nursing program.

“The major thing is I’ll get to focus on what I want to do for the rest of my life (nursing) while playing basketball,’’ Beasler said. “You have to focus what you’re going to be doing the next 40 years of your life. They gave me an offer I couldn’t turn down.’’

Beasler, a third-team all-conference selection, was glad she came back for a third-year after the knee surgery.

“It helped me a lot,’’ she said. “I was able to take some more science classes, which was beneficial. It helped me to get to a higher level academically. When I get to OWC, I will start at the level I need to be starting at.

“I worked extremely hard in my rehab. I pushed myself to be who I knew I could be. I knew I could do it and I did. I’m so grateful to God. Without God, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.’’

 Watonga native Krystal Fowler, who graduated last season, has signed with the University of Central Oklahoma.

“We’re going to miss these kids next year,’’ Morris said. “Our job is to bring them along not only with their basketball ability, but with their character as well. All these girls have done great things here and we’re excited to see them take it to the next level.’’