It is not lost on Tina Martin, University of Delaware women’s basketball coach, that if the team wins its first round game against the University of Arkansas-Little Rock it will be a first.
“No UD team, men’s or women’s basketball has ever won an NCAA tournament game,” Martin said. She said the team is ready and she knows it will be tough.
“There are no gimmies in this tournament,” she added. She made her remarks before a group of University employees, students, and supporters after the final practice Thursday afternoon at the Carpenter Center.
The players, which include star Elena Delle Donne will get on a bus Friday to New Castle Airport where they will board a plane to take them to the site of their first round game on Sunday.
Martin said the team doesn’t want to look ahead when one supporter asked if the team would travel to Des Moines after Tuesday’s game. If that happened it would mean Martin’s team had won its first two games.
“Everyone knows who we are. We didn’t sneak into the tournament,” she said. Martin appointed Vanessa Kobongo to speak for her team. She said everyone was excited and ready to play.
The team conducted a vigorous workout before the supporters came to cheer the team on. Coaches rotated players through their drills. The NCAA has strict rules on when and how the team can practice once it gets to Little Rock.
“We don’t even know what Little Rock looks like,” Martin joked. The coach said this was a tough time of the year because many players were trying to makeup missed exams from the regular season.
During the practice one player wore number 24. That belonged to Taylor Gault. Martin said she expected to see the freshman guard be a star in the WNBA some day.