Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Division III Tourney is off and running.

The (always annoying to navigate) NCAA website has game reports/news, but make sure you check out the fabulous D-3 Hoops site to get all the news no one else feels fit to print. Nationally. (There's some great local coverage of the games).

An example? Evans Clinchy writes about Middlebury (men's) and the ever-present in the polls DePauw (women's) teams:
There's nothing in college basketball more painful than a promising regular season followed by a one-and-done exit from the NCAA Tournament. All that practice, all that preparation, all that hard work -- and for what?

It's a long offseason, and no one wants to spend the eight months between March and the next November dwelling on what could have been. But for two coaches, that was the case this past summer, and they're eager not to let it happen again.

As for first-round results, in no particular order, the results, a couple of interesting storylines and some great team names:

1) The St. Norbert Green Knights (WI) upset #12 Calvin (MI), 78-67. (They've made a habit of it, these last three years)
"Nobody was expecting us to win that game," said junior point guard Stefanie Bunday, who scored a game-high 19 points. "And we believed in ourselves, and I think that's what we needed. If we go out there (today) bringing it and believing in ourselves, we can go places."

Apparently the Green Knights haven't made believers out of everybody yet. When asked how good this SNC team is, Calvin coach John Ross paused for several seconds before delivering a response.

"I'll just let that one go," he said
Next up for the Knights, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, who used a second-half run to take down Minnesota-Morris, 86-64.

2) #21 Tufts (MA) defeated Muhlenberg, 71-59, (YAH!) which means the Jumbos go up against the Cougars (Oh, oh!), as Kean University defeated Penn State-Berks, 105-68.

#2 Kean is in the middle of a record-breaking season, riding a school best 27-game winning streak. and scored all those points without injured senior guard Melissa Beyruti, who's now the NCAA's Queen of Threes.

3) #16 Carthage College earned its first-ever victory in the tournament by defeating Northland College, 73-60. Their next opponent will be the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, who handled St. Thomas (MN), 91-73.

4) #4 Hope (MI) took down Dennison (OH), 68-40 and #11 DePauw defeated Lakeland College (WI) , 79-46. Because of the regional nature of the D-III tourney, #4 will go up against #11 in the second round. Yikes! No coasting there, but you've got to believe Hope's home court will help (they've won 60 straight).

5) Utica (NY) upset host (and 9th ranked) Moravian College (PA), 64-61. The Pioneers have tied a school record with a 22-game win streak.
“What a great win for our girls and our program,” said Head Coach Michele Davis. “We are an emotional team and we turned it on at the right time tonight. Baskets began to fall for us in the second half and as always we pride ourselves on great defensive play. We are a very composed team - and these girls have been there before just two years ago, so battling back from 15 points really didn’t surprise me too much."
Next up for Utica: Gettysburg (PA), who defeated #25 Farmingdale State College (NY), 68-57, behind the program's greatest single-game post-season performance: Junior Caitlin Moser put up a career-high 34 points and grabbed 14 boards. They've also broken the school record for wins (23).

6) Da #6 Bears of Washington (MO) cruised to a 81-67 victory over Maryville (TN) behind Zoë Unruh's career-high 31 points (eight three pointers).
“What an incredible performance. Like I said to the team after the game, Zoë is someone who has been in the gym since her freshman year and you could almost tell since the minute that game started that she was focused in,” Washington U. head coach Nancy Fahey said. “It was a special performance at a special time.”
In more "Regionalized Reality," Washington U will next battle #13 Thomas More (KY). The Saints made easy work of Fontbonne University, 68-49.

7) #15 Puget Sound (WA) made Redlands' (CA) first appearance in the D-III tournament a brief one, defeating the Bulldogs, 54-42. Lucky Loggers, they next face #5 George Fox (OR) (defending champs) who took down Louisiana College, 65-49.

It was a disappointing end to the Lady Wildcats most successful season -- especially as they had to play without starting point guard Christy Pantallion, suspended by Janice Joseph-Richard for a violation of team rules during the trip.

That takes guts, especially since Louisiana had shown it could beat the top teams, having taken down #6 Howard Payne earlier in the season.

No surprise, though, from the woman who defeated breast cancer. Certainly a tough, tough lesson for Pantallion, especially considering her words on the night Joseph-Richard earned her 300th victory:
“For me, sometimes I prefer her as a mentor off the court,” Pantallion joked. “For me at least, it can be tough when we’re out on the court. She can be tough on us, but I understand where she is coming from. She treats everyone fair and like her own kids. I love her and wouldn’t trade her for anyone else in the world.”

Pantallion, who had signed with San Jose State under Joseph-Richard out of high school but never played on the West Coast, has the most history with Joseph-Richard among current LC players and found it particularly gratifying to be a part of win 300.

“It’s great to be a part of this,” Pantallion said. “It’s an honor for me just to have her as a coach. She recruited me right out of high school. Of course, I never got to play for her at San Jose State, but for some reason, whether it was by strange coincidence or divine guidance, I got a second chance. For me, it was definitely an honor.”
8) #19 Mount Union (OH) used a barrage of three-pointers to take down #24 Washington & Jefferson (PA), 71-48, keeping the Presidents winless in the tournament.

They'll next face the #17 Messiah Falcons (PA), who used a late run to dispatch Neumann University (PA), 64-55.

9) The Ephs (yes, the Ephs. What are you smilin' at?) of Williams College took advantage of their at-large bid to the tourney and beat St. Mary College 62-56. They'll next play DeSales University (PA), who upset host Ithaca, 62-53.

10) #3 Illinois Wesleyan played like the Titans they are.
Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball players were slightly amused by getting booed at close range by a rambunctious trio of Franklin College fans during pregame warmups Friday at Shirk Center The Grizzlies’ faithful didn’t like what they saw of the Titans once the NCAA Division III Tournament first-round game began very much either.

No. 3-ranked IWU harassed Franklin into 28 turnovers and dominated the rebounding battle to claim a 76-52 victory before a crowd of 1,375.
Next up for the Titans? The Storm, as day-before-her-birthday girl Ali Sokol's 19-points off the bench helped lead Simpson (IA) to an upset the #23 Chicago Maroons, 66-53.

11) #7 Marymount University (VA) took care of the University of Scranton, 57-41, holding the #18 Lady Royals to 25% shooting. The win extends the career of coach Bill Finney who, after 27 years and 549 wins, will retire as head coach and Athletic Director after the season.

The Saints will go up against Medaille College (NY), who survived against #22 Lebanon Valley College (PA), 64-63.

12) With a 68-51 victory over Washington & Lee, #8 Christopher Newport University (VA) is now 29-0. There was a time when that streak was in doubt:
C.J. Woollum remembers the brush with the unthinkable.

Standing outside his team's locker room, Woollum, Christopher Newport's men's basketball coach, heard one of his players say something unfathomable: "We're going to lose."

The "we" in question was the CNU women's team; the verb harder to identify. Lose? That hadn't happened in 22 games.
It didn't happen on this day, either.

"Next thing, I hear this eruption," Woollum said. "You would have thought the world had blown up."

Chelsie Schweers' last-second 3-pointer had tied that Feb. 14 game against Ferrum and forced overtime, leading to an eventual 86-80 CNU victory and the unshakable conviction that the season was going to be something incredible.

CNU's next game is against Roanoke (VA), who topped the Green Terror of McDaniel College (MD), 77-66. Roanoke's last win against CNU was during the 1993-94 season.

13) Melissa Teel, D-III's leading shot blocker, added 7 more stuffs to her total as Western Connecticut State cruised to a 59-41 win over New England University.

Next up for the Colonials? Da Bears (Polar) of Bowdoin, who cruised past Baruch (NY), 67-53.

14) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) couldn't overcome a slow start and fell to the Southern Maine, 74-63.

Lucky dogs, the Huskies will next face the Lord Jeffs of Amherst. Currently 29-0 and #1 in the nation, Amherst stretched a 7-point halftime lead into a 68-47 win.

15) Mary Washington (VA) jumped out to a 49-15 first half lead over the #10 William Paterson (NJ) Pioneers, and then rolled into the second round with an 84-53 victory. The Eagles will face the University of Rochester Yellowjackets, who put four players in double-figures in its 66-47 win at home over the Cortland State (NY) Red Dragons.

16) Babson College (MA) had an easy 76-56 win over Emmanuel College. It was the Beavers 18th straight win and tied a program record for victories. Their next opponent, #20 Colby (ME), made sure their first ever victory in the tournament was a dramatic one.

The Mules (yes, I typed that -- the Mules) escaped with a 62-59 victory over Husson University. The game seemed in hand, but then...
...a 3-point shot from [Husson's] Gifford with 5.3 seconds to play to cut the lead to 60-59. Allen was fouled with 3.3 seconds left and made 1-for-2 from the foul line. Husson got the rebound and called a timeout, but were called for a technical because the Eagles were out of timeouts. Manduca hit one of her two free throws on the technical and Colby retained possession as well to run out the clock.

“The NCAA Tournament is about survival and we did that tonight. Husson played with incredible intensity and determination and we were able to be just a hair better tonight,” Colby head coach Lori Gear McBride said. “The crowd was incredible for both teams and the experience is something both teams will never forget."