Tonight the Robert Morris women’s basketball team will be looking to shock the college basketball world as they take on #1 seed Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Coach Charlie Buscaglia and the Lady Colonials (22-1o) are back in the tournament for the fifth time and more impressively, they earned a trip to the Dance for the third time in the last four seasons. The Colonials previously qualified in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2016.
“It’s a tremendous deal for us. To be able to reach our goals again it’s very important to us. It feels great to have our efforts recognized. Every year, we continue just to strive to get better and continue with the standards we’ve set, which are second to nobody,” said Buscaglia.
Regardless of their opponent or the past tournament results, it’s a huge accomplishment for the Robert Morris women’s team to have qualified for the tournament three of the last four seasons. Since 2006-07, Robert Morris has posted a record of 138-60 (.697) in the Northeast Conference and have an overall record of 203-146 (.582). A lot of hard work has gone into making this a winning program and Coach Buscaglia is proud he was able to keep things going in his first year as head coach.
“It started off (the winning culture) because of a strong work ethic but also things have changed here at the university and we’ve had a lot of growth. The campus is beautiful and we have this new events center coming. Those are just example of progressive things that are going on here.”
“As far as recently, it’s the culture that we’ve developed and we’ve set a tradition and set standards for ourselves. Our players wake up everyday, get up, look in the mirror and like the person they are. They come to practice everyday wanting to be the best they can be and that’s the culture we have here,” said Buscaglia.
This Colonial senior class is a huge reason for the winning that’s been going on in Moon Twp. The trio of Janee Brown, Rebeca Navarro and Anna Niki Stamolamprou have collected 78 overall wins, 53 NEC victories, four trips to the NEC Championship Game and three trips to the NCAA tournament.
The Lady Colonials are going to try to call upon that winning tradition and hard work as they have the tall task of taking on Notre Dame at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Indiana (tonight, 7:30 PM, ESPN2). This is the second time that Robert Morris has faced the Fighting Irish in the tournament. Back in 2014, the #1 seed Notre Dame defeated Robert Morris, 93-42.
“When Notre Dame came up, it was OK, let’s go. They clapped, they were excited to see their name on the screen knowing that they earned this. But when we left that night, we huddled up and their eyes were logged in and ready to start our routine again and get ready for Notre Dame,” said Buscaglia.
“I can tell you one thing, they’re very good, very good. They’re in the elite class of women’s basketball. They’re very athletic, they have a great point guard and pose a lot of problems for us with their size and athleticism. However, nothing will change in our routine, nothing will change in our preparation.”
“We might not be as tall as some of the teams they’ve played or as athletic as some of the teams, because they play some of the top teams in the country. But we know that we can be the team that works the hardest, we can be the team that hustles the hardest.”
Tonight’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with the tipoff set for 7:30 PM.