Local D-II women's teams take step up in class
College Football Videos
The women's basketball coaches from Edinboro and Indiana (Pa.) probably won't want to look at the scoreboard much in their next games. That's OK with them.
The Division II teams will play exhibitions against two of the top D-I programs in the nation. Edinboro travels to preseason No. 7 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Thursday, and IUP visits seven-time national champion Connecticut at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I told the girls I know what we're up against,” said IUP coach Jeff Dow, whose team lost to UConn, 100-41, in a preseason game two years ago. “We're going to struggle at times, and that's probably an understatement.
“But as long as we're attempting to do the right thing, I can live with the result.”
Beginning the season with a blowout loss might seem like a confidence-crippling endeavor. But Dow said the exhibitions — typically requested by the D-II schools — serve as a major selling point to recruits.
“It's a special opportunity for our players,” said Dow, whose team went 23-7 last year and lost to Edinboro in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. “Your typical D-II team doesn't get this chance, let alone twice in three years.”
Last season, Edinboro played Purdue tight for much of an exhibition contest before falling, 88-73. Fighting Scots coach Stan Swank said center Samantha Blazetic held her own against the Boilermakers' post players, and her performances helped pave the way for an all-conference season. Edinboro finished 30-2 and lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the Fighting Scots' No. 6 preseason ranking, staying with Notre Dame — which reached the national championship the past two seasons — is a long shot.
“You hear the name Notre Dame, you think ‘What the heck are we getting ourselves into?' ” said Edinboro All-American guard Kiara Brown, an Ambridge graduate.
But it'll give Edinboro the ultimate preseason self-evaluation, an opportunity to play in a large arena and a chance to tour the Notre Dame facilities. Plus, Brown gets to test herself against Notre Dame's national player of the year candidate, Skylar Diggins.
“If I can guard her, I can guard anyone in D-II,” Brown said.
The D-I teams benefit, too. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said the best part is allowing the freshmen to get into a game situation.
“I love it because it gets them in uniforms and in front of our fans,” she said. “We try to work out our kinks. I expect our players to treat it like the most important game of the season. I think it's good for both teams.”
Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- District college notes: Guy vaults to freshman record at Virginia
- Jeannette’s Crawford twins finding basketball success with WCCC
- Unselfish play helps St. Vincent women to special season
- Local roundup: PSNK men’s basketball team loses to PSU York
- Campus Clippings: Alle-Kiski swimmers shine at Edinboro