Published: Saturday, January 5, 2008
Irish grads to meet today
Area basketball fans will get a golden opportunity to see former Ursuline High teammates Tyra Grant and Courtney Davidson play each other on national television today when Penn State invades Michigan State for a Big Ten Conference game at noon on CBS (Channel 27 in Youngstown).
Grant, a sophomore and starting guard for the Nittany Lions, and Davidson, a senior reserve guard for the Spartans, both were members of Ursuline's 2004 state championship team under coach Sean Durkin, Grant being a sophomore and Davidson a senior.
Grant, who is averaging 32.8 minutes of playing time per game, has picked up where she left off last year when she was a freshman standout for Penn State. She again leads the Nittany Lions in scoring and has been one the main reasons for the team's early success under first-year coach Coquese Washington.
After averaging 14.6 points last season in all 31 games, including 16 starts, to lead Penn State in scoring, Grant again has the team-best scoring average (14.5 points) to lead the Nittany Lions to a 10-4 record, including 8-0 at home and 1-1 the Big Ten Conference. She also leads the team in field goals (77) and blocks (13).
Also last season, Grant ranked No. 6 in scoring average in the Big Ten Conference while finishing in third place on Penn State's all-time freshman scoring list with 452 points.
Grant is coming off a game-winning performance against Illinois this past Wednesday. She made two clutch free throws with 9.9 seconds left to lift the Nittany Lions to a 49-48 home win over the Illini at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa., for their 10th victory of the season. The win also was Illinois' first Big Ten loss of the year (10-4, 2-1 Big Ten).
Grant finished with 13 points to share team scoring honors with Mashea Williams, a 5-10 junior guard from Erie, Pa., who also had a team-best eight rebounds. It was the eighth game this year that Grant led the team in scoring, six of the games being victories.
Grant also contributed six rebounds and two assists while Williams reached the 500-point mark for her career while adding eight rebounds and two steals.
Davidson, meanwhile, has played in all 15 games this season and is averaging 24.0 minutes for Michigan State (9-6, 1-2), which is guided by first-year coach Suzy Merchant. The Spartans are coming off an 84-71 loss to Wisconsin Wednesday.
Davidson leads the team in 3-point goals made (22-for-66 for 33.3 percent), and is No. 2 in assists (42) and fourth in scoring (7.3-point average).
She has compiled 142 career assists in 79 games, including 27 last season.
Grant, who last season was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and the media, not only can shoot the ball but also is a talented and versatile overall performer.
Besides making 77 of 164 (47.0 percent) shots from the field this season, including 14-for-47 (29.8 percent) from 3-point range and 35-for-50 from the foul line for 70 percent, she also is averaging 4.5 rebounds and has 29 assists and seven steals.
Davidson has made 33 of 104 (31.7 percent) from the field.
honor in 2006
Grant, while a senior player for Ursuline two years ago, averaged a double-double with 30.8 points and 10.2 rebounds to lead the Irish to a 22-5 record and state runner-up honors. She also was named Miss Ohio Basketball, the 2006 Ohio AP Division III tri-player of the year, and made the AP Division III all-state first team.
The daughter of Faith Grant and Joseph McRae, Tyra wound up her Ursuline career with a school-record 2,292 points in addition to breaking 10 school records, including a scoring 52 points in one game.
Her father was an All-American basketball player at Ashland College in 1976 and 1977, while her aunt, Wanda Grant, was a multi-record holder at Youngstown State.
Davidson, the daughter of Arnold and Thais Davidson, was a three-time, first-team all-state selection while at Ursuline, and was named the state's Division III co-player of the year for the 2003-04 season.
As sophomores, Davidson and Grant led the Irish to the 2004 state championship and a 26-2 record.