Lady Knights Punch 10th Straight Ticket To Dance
Added by Shannon Hovan on March 16, 2012.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (22-9) received their 10th straight NCAA Tournament bid this past Monday night as the #6 seed in the Kingston, RI region. The true strength of the Scarlet Knights will come out right away, as they were dealt a tough draw. Even as a higher seed, Rutgers will have to travel to Spokane, WA for the first and potentially second rounds of the tournament. Not only is Spokane, WA 3,000 miles away, it is the home state of the Scarlet Knights first round opponent: the #11 Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-5). Tough draw indeed.
Rutgers forward April Sykes shared some optimism after learning of her team’s draw: “No matter where they seed you, if you come out with your game plan, focus and determination, we’ll come out with a W.”
It is just that attitude the Scarlet Knights will need to make a run this year. If they were to advance to the second round, they would likely play a familiar, yet tough opponent, #3 seed Miami who gave them a crushing double-overtime loss back in February.
But, tough competition and tournament wins are tasks none too tall for the Scarlet Knights. Their senior class reached the Sweet-16 of the tournament back in 2009. They have leadership and they know how to win. One of those leaders, red-shirt senior Khadijah Rushdan, was recently named to the Naismith National Player of the Year Midseason watch list. In addition, the conference to which they are affiliated, The Big East, has a tournament-high eight teams who have punched tickets to the dance this year (Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John’s, West Virginia). Gonzaga’s West Coast Conference, only two (Gonzaga, BYU). Strength of schedule says much about a team’s perspective and confidence going into the tournament, having played against a high-level of competition consistently throughout the season.
So the journey begins far from home. But, the Scarlet Knights are staying grounded.
As senior Khadijah Rushdan simply stated on Selection Monday: “I’m just excited that we get another 40 minutes to play.”
#3 Rutgers v. #11 Gonzaga will be played at 4:15 pm ET on Saturday. Coverage on ESPN2/ESPN3.
Quotes courtesy of a video from RVision: RU Women’s Basketball Selection Show http://www.scarletknights.com/rvision.asp?bctid=1504706504001