Clarksville, Ark.-University of the Ozarks senior center Mandi Carter is the third all-time leading scorer and rebounder in women's basketball history at Ozarks, and could move even higher with a strong showing in a pair of home games this week.
<#IMAGE:1#>Carter recently passed Dee Bean in scoring and Penni Peppas in rebounding to become the only women’s player to be ranked in the top three in each of those categories. Carter trails Lori (Myers) Hines, who is the second all-time leading scorer and a recent inductee into the Sports Hall of Fame, by only 23 points. Carter would need 20 rebounds to pass Leona Hubbard Scott to become second on the career rebounding list. With two regular season games remaining, and a possible trip to the playoffs, Carter could pass both Hines and Hubbard Scott to further etch her name in the record books. Regardless of where Carter finishes, she takes her accomplishments in stride. “I never dreamed of being in that position,” said Carter, who is a three-time All-Conference player. “Even the top ten seems like a far stretch. It has not been something that I follow daily, and it is not something I ever had my eyes on. It is something that just happened. It is nice to be ranked among those other players.” The Clarksville native has often overcame constant double teams to be among the most productive American Southwest Conference players this season. She currently ranks fourth in scoring (17.1), sixth in rebounding (8.3) and fourth in blocked shots (1.7). She has led her team in scoring eleven times and rebounding fifteen times. Her head coach attributes not only her physical abilities for the success, but also a hard-working mentality and a humble attitude. “Mandi is no doubt an inside presence,” said Ozarks head coach Christina Jost. “She is very strong and physical. She has great range as a shooter, and a lot of the post players in this conference don’t have that quality. She is a player that has a knack for scoring and has a great nose for the ball.” “She is not one that looks at her stats after the game,” said Jost. “She simply loves to play the game and brings a passion every night. Her work ethic has been tremendous from day one. I think she has gained a lot of respect from her teammates and other players around the conference because of her humbleness. Her actions speak louder than her words.” The athletic 6-foot-1 Carter has not only excelled on the court, but also in the classroom. She recently received ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors. She has also been a member of the American Southwest Conference All-Academic team for three seasons. “I am a student-athlete,” said Carter, who is majoring in physical education. “Student comes first to me. My school work and grades have always been important. I’ve always wanted to do well in class. I want to be the best. Keeping up with my homework while traveling on our road trips is definitely a challenge though.” Carter has been a four-year starter for Ozarks, but did not play during the 2004-05 season. She spent a year at University of Alabama following her sophomore season. Ironically, that was a decision that has now allowed her to play college basketball with her younger sister, Savannah. “Being able to play with Savannah was a big part of my returning to Ozarks,” said Carter. “I love playing with my sister. We seem to click on the court. We have a nice inside, outside presence. Of course, I missed playing, too. I enjoyed my time in Alabama, but I love my purple and gold.” The Lady Eagles (8-15, 6-12) are battling UT-Dallas (10-13, 7-11) and Louisiana College (8-14, 6-12) for a playoff spot. UT-Dallas holds the tie-breaker over Ozarks having handed the Lady Eagles a pair of losses during the regular season. The Lady Eagles and Louisiana College split during the regular season. If Ozarks and Louisiana College remain tied at the conclusion of Saturday’s games, Ozarks would go to the playoffs by virtue of a 1-1 record against Mississippi College. Louisiana College dropped both games to Mississippi College earlier in the season. Ozarks will end the regular season by hosting East Texas Baptist University on February 15 and LeTourneau University on February 17.