By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “Selection Sunday” has become a made for big-time TV, prime-time event at the NCAA Division I level for both men’s and women’s basketball. However, for Division II teams like the West Chester women’s basketball squad and head coach Deirdre Kane, news of whether they would make make their tournament came later, preventing the team from being together when word hit.
“We were all on our individual computers at home because it was 10pm at night,” Kane says. “But immediately lit up the ‘Twitterverse’ and our phones with text messages, once we saw that we were selected. Of course they left the Atlantic Region until last, so we were absolutely on pins and needles and we were all very excited.”
21-7 West Chester received the 8th, and final, seed in the Atlantic Region and that earned them a first round match-up with 29-1 top seed – and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival – Edinboro in the first round.
This is the fourth time the West Chester women have advanced to the NCAA Tournament – all four berths have been earned under Coach Kane’s watch. The PSAC “Coach of the Year” talks about why this year’s team is still standing.
“Our strengths are our depth, and a new system of play where every media timeout we sub – five in and five out. And sometimes those units, we call them units, play different gameplans. One would be a more pressing team, one would be a more soft-pressing team, maybe not pressing at all. I think it makes us hard to prepare for.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Deirdre Kane:
The Golden Rams have played Edinboro twice this season, losing both match-ups. They dropped an 80-76 regular season decision and then lost to them in the semifinals of the PSAC tournament last week, 74-58. Both those games, like this upcoming tournament match-up will be, were played on Edinboro’s home floor. Kane says the Fighting Scots success is no accident.
“They kind of play the same way we do. They press all the time, they have tremendous athletes. They have a great inside-outside game. They really force the tempo of the game by their athleticism and their pressing. And they are just on a roll right now.”
So what does West Chester have to do to pull off the upset?
“I think we just have to make shots, which we did the first time we played them. But they really force the tempo of the game, we really force the tempo of the game. So it’s like a track meet, but you have to keep those fine motor skills and still finish and make shots at the end. So we can’t let the tempo of the game, force us to get in panic mode or to rush our shots.”
West Chester and Edinboro will tip-off at 6:00pm on Friday night. The winner faces the winner of Bloomsburg and Indiana (Pa.) in the second round on Saturday.