Monday, March 5, 2012

MSU women rewarded with tournament berth

The Minnesota State women's basketball team gathered in the Johnson Alumni late Sunday night to watch the NCAA selection show, and it didn't take long for the Mavericks to discover their fate.

Minnesota State was one of the first schools shown on the brackets, producing a small cheer from the players. Soon, it was obvious that the Mavericks would be facing powerful Wayne State for the fourth time, second time at Wayne.

The program's seniors Jennie Noreen and Laura Weber had to feel some satisfaction in helping the team get back into the national tournament. Both were reserves on the historic 2009 team that won the national championship, and both had survived the struggles of the last two seasons.

This season started with four nonconference wins against lesser competition, then losses at Wayne State and Augustana, correctly predicted to be the top two teams in the Northern Sun. Ali Wilkinson the team's best player, suffered a season-ending injury that seemed likely to torpedo another season.

But the Mavericks gained some momentum through eight straight wins, and it seemed probable that this team would be a threat in the conference and region. However, the Mavericks struggled over the last month, winning some key games just to get into the Northern Sun tournament.

The Mavericks will be decided underdogs at Wayne State on Friday, but last Saturday, the Mavericks had a good game plan in the loss to Wayne State, excpet for the 20-percent shooting.

Wayne State is the better team, but it wouldn't be as big of a shock here as it would be at Wayne State if the Mavericks pull the upset.

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