Kathy Thomas doesn't care which guard position she plays for Tarleton State, as long as the TexAnns win.
It's no coincidence, though, that the majority of their victories have come with the junior at the point.
"I'm going to do whatever it takes for this team to win," said Thomas, a transfer from Iowa. "If that means being the one-guard, I'll be the one-guard."
That's where Thomas started the season for the TexAnns, and that's where she'll start when they begin NCAA Championship play in the South Central Region tournament in Canyon. Third-seeded Tarleton meets sixth-seeded Texas A&M-International at noon Friday at the First United Bank Center.
Tarleton had an 11-game win streak with Thomas at the point, then moved the Flint, Mich. native to the two-guard, or shooting guard. But then an injury, to teammate Morgan Ashmore, not Thomas, interrupted those plans.
Ashmore moved to the point and Thomas to the two-guard against Eastern New Mexico on Jan. 25 during Lone Star Conference play. But Ashmore collided with a defender and suffered a torn MCL as she put up a half-court heave at the halftime buzzer, and is out for the year.
Raven McGrath took over at point in the second half and started the next five games there. But with Tarleton going 2-3 in that span, head coach Ronnie Hearne was looking to shake things up. Thomas returned to point guard with Meagan O'Dell joining the starting lineup at the two-guard on Feb. 15 against Texas A&M-Kingsville, and McGrath has been a spark plug off the bench ever since.
"When I was point guard we won 11 straight, and when I went to the two-guard we went into a little slump," Thomas explained. "Coach Hearne said we were winning with me at the one-guard, so he put me back there."
Tarleton is 18-5 with Thomas at the point, where she knows she must be a distributor first and scorer second.
"I usually take what the defense gives me. I like dishing it off more than scoring because getting the team involved is more important than myself," Thomas said. "If we come out with a win, then we did something right, and that's more important than anything."
It's not as if Thomas can't score. She was named to the Detroit Dream Team and was a McDonald's All-American nominee while leading Flint Harmady High School to back-to-back Michigan state titles, and was a first-team junior college All-American as a freshman at Highland Community College. She played in 32 games for Iowa last year, and now averages 9.8 points and 3.1 assists for the TexAnns.
Thomas believes Tarleton is hot at the right time, having dominated two LSC Championship games before dropping a hard fought 76-67 final to West Texas A&M, the top-ranked team in the region.
"I feel like we can build on our momentum," she said. "Every game now is another chance to go out and get what we deserve. We just have to take everything one day at a time."
Because every day is special in the NCAA Championship, regardless what position you play.
"Just participating in this tournament is something special, but we believe we can go a long way," Thoas said. "I know if we stay settled down and focused and just play the way we know we can, we can go a long way in this tournament."