For the second time in as many years, the Shaw University women’s basketball team has advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II NCAA women’s basketball championship. The Lady Bears move on with a convincing 70-53 upset of nationally ranked Edinboro (Pa). on the Edinboro home court last night.
“It’s hard to get to the Elite Eight, so to be able to get there in back-to-back years is terrific,” said Shaw head women’s basketball coach Jacques Curtis in an interview with the Digest.
Curtis, who has won six CIAA titles in 11 years at Shaw and makes his fourth appearance in the Elite Eight, says that matchups are going to be key in the national semifinals.
“It’s different because there are eight good teams, and even though we’re past the point of being nervous, at this point in the season it’s all about matchups. If you get matched up with the wrong team, you could be one and done. We’ll be prepared to play Pittsburg State and to see how we can find some advantages.”
Shaw ranks in the top 20 nationally in scoring offense and average margin of victory, and is tenth in the nation in opponent field goal percentage. The Lady Bears match up favorably with the Pittsburg State, a team yielding 62 points per game this season.
As for what Curtis will tell his team prior to this year’s edition of the Elite Eight, he says that the ladies know it will be business as usual.
“We’ve got a large group that was there last year, and it was our first year to advance to the Final Four. We’ll get some rest, and whatever we’re running, it’s as good as we’re going to run it. It’s about letting the body rest and getting mentally prepared. It’s good to be going there with eight seniors, but they know its one and done. We’ve got three games to show what we can do.”