The U.N.I. women will enter their first NCAA Basketball Tournament as the #16 seed in the Kansas City Regional. The 17-15 Panthers face Nebraska — one of the tournament’s four #1 seeds — Sunday night in Minneapolis. Lizzie Boeck, U.N.I.’s junior center says playing the number one seed is “pretty intense” but they will do their best and it’s exciting.
Coach Tanya Warren admits its a difficult draw for U.N.I., but beating the 30-1 Cornhuskers is possible. Warren says it’s been proven in the tournament that anyone can beat someone, and they only have to be better than Nebraska on one day.
Nebraska received an at-large bid and first-ever #1 seed by winning the Big 12’s regular-season crown. The Panthers earned an automatic bid to the 64-team field by winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title. Guard Nicole Clausen says she and U.N.I.’s three other seniors are excited to be part of the Big Dance in their final season. Clausen says it’s a great way to go out after all the work they’ve put into it.
Senior guard/forward Danielle Wubbens says it’s still hard to believe what the Panthers accomplished, but making the NCAA Tourney is a reward for hardwork. She says it’s awesome to say they ended their senior year by going to the tournament.
Sunday’s game tips off at 6:06 pm from Williams Arena on the Minnesota campus. The game will be broadcast live by ESPN2 and ESPN360.com.
By Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein