Tradition continues with NCAA Women's Basketball Second Round
March 22, 2010
In so many ways, The University of Texas helped establish a tradition in women's college basketball. The Texas Longhorns won the fifth national championship in NCAA history in 1986, and did so by being the first team ever to go undefeated en route to the title.
A year later, in 1987, the Frank Erwin Center was host to the first sold-out women's Final Four.
Tradition will continue on Tuesday night, as No. 3 seed West Virginia and No. 11 seed San Diego State will battle in the Second Round of this year's NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at the Erwin Center.
San Diego State is looking for the program's first trip to the Sweet 16. West Virginia last made it to the Sweet 16 in 1992.
"I would hope that maybe some of the Texas fans would come to the game tomorrow," San Diego State guard Jene Morris said. "It's still women's basketball, and we still have to support the sport. We're going to bring our energy, and I know West Virginia is going to bring their own energy.
"It's going to be a good game. Just come to the game and support the sport."
Similar styles: Both San Diego State and West Virginia have engineered success on the defensive side of the ball. The Mountaineers rank fourth nationally in scoring defense, giving up just 51.8 points a game. The Aztecs give up just 57.7 points a contest, and rank 16th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Morris was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
"They get after you," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "They're very athletic, and get up in the lanes and get after you. We do a lot of the same things the same way."
Both teams also boast three players averaging at least 10 points a game.
"Our team will tell you, I love people who love to guard people," San Diego State head coach Beth Burns said. "We both try to take what the defense gives you. It should be a heck of a game."
Mountaineer memories: Burns was the head coach at Ohio State from 1997-2002, and being closer geographically, she and the Buckeyes faced West Virginia twice. Ohio State won both meetings, including a game at West Virginia on Dec. 19, 1997.
It's a significant memory for Burns.
"I'd never been there before, and I did not know that Davy Crockett shot the gun right after they did their starting lineups," Burns said.
Burns was referring to West Virginia's mascot, the Mountaineer, who does, indeed, resemble Davy Crockett -- complete with a coonskin cap, full beard and rifle. He's with the team in Austin, but did not fire his gun for Sunday's first-round introductions.
Miles from home: West Virginia junior guard Sarah Miles has enjoyed a homecoming of sorts during the NCAA Tournament. She hails from nearby San Antonio, and this location for the first and second rounds allowed Miles' mother and grandmother to see her play college ball in person for the first time.
Miles had more than 20 friends and family in attendance for the first-round victory against Lamar, and said she expects a few more on Tuesday night.
Miles said she was also excited for some genuine Tex-Mex.
"We had some last night, and it was pretty good," she said.
To purchase tickets, call 800-982-BEVO or visit TexasBoxOffice.com.