After a long regular season of ups and downs, the West Chester Lady Rams look toward possible glory with an improbable bunch.Coming into conference play, West Chester looked ghastly. After finishing their first two conference games, West Chester sat with an overall record of 6-10, eight freshmen and two newcomers to their program. It’s a good thing they had a confident coach too.
“We had 10 newcomers for crying out loud!” Coach Deirdre Kane exclaimed. “Practice was enough to make you cry. But eventually they got it.”
Centering on a few upper class athletes like sole senior Dominique Lewis, the Lady Rams finished the season winning 9 of their final 11 games, finishing second in the conference and holding home court advantage throughout the PSAC tournament due to East Stroudsburg ineligibility.
The Lady Rams begin the playoffs on Tuesday night where they will face the Millersville Lady Marauders for the second time in four nights. Millersville according to Coach Kane, is their “rival.” The game has implications in the regular season without added pressure and possible salt in the wounds regarding elimination.
West Chester traveled to Millersville Saturday, but seeding was already predetermined before the game. The Marauders won 69-61 splitting the season series at one game a piece.
Millersville picked up momentum said Coach Kane. The Rams were outhustled, outrebounded and outperformed.
“I’d rather lose this one than the one on Tuesday,” Coach Kane said after the Millersville game. “We’re at home for the rubber match and I’m excited about that.”
Saturday’s loss doesn’t tell the whole story however. The Lady Rams are undefeated at home in conference play this year proving they are able to beat any team in the conference in the friendly confines of Hollinger Field House. In response Coach Kane could only say “That’s a good thing.”
One month ago, West Chester played host to Millersville at Hollinger Field House and gave fans their money’s worth. After being down by as many as nine in the second half, the Lady Rams stormed back and took a one point advantage with 22 seconds left and held on with stringent defense.
The Rams have home-court locked up, but if the Lady Marauders can win they will hold home-court for both men’s and women’s basketball playoffs.
Coach Kane is not looking past Millersville but certainly thinking about a lurking giant in East Stroudsburg waiting in the horizon.
In the other PSAC East matchup, Mansfield will clash with top seeded East Stroudsburg. The overall favorites are the Lady Warriors of ESU because they have dominated all year. The Lady Warriors are 24-3 overall and 11-1 in PSAC play. The only loss in conference play came to the Rams at Hollinger.