NY, NJ well represented in NCAA Tournament

LOIS ELFMAN | 3/19/2016, 2:58 p.m.
New York and New Jersey women’s basketball history is being made at the Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament kicking ...
St. John's Red Storm celebrates its win at the Big East Tournament and heads to another NCAA Tournament. St. Johns photo

New York and New Jersey women’s basketball history is being made at the Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament kicking off tomorrow. Three teams from New York and two from New Jersey are heading to the big dance. While teams such as St. John’s and Seton Hall have been there before, they enter this year’s tournament with a greater sense of authority.

St. John’s heads to into its first game with decisive conviction after winning the Big East Tournament. The Red Storm, the eighth seed in the Dallas Region, will take on ninth-seeded Auburn in Waco, Texas, Friday.

Patriot League champion Army West Point celebrates the 10th anniversary of its first trip to the NCAA Tournament with a return engagement. The Black Knights, the 13th seed in the Sioux Falls Region, play fourth seed Syracuse University Friday in Syracuse, N.Y.

Princeton, the 11th seed in the Sioux Falls Region, makes history when it takes on sixth seed West Virginia in Columbus, Ohio, Friday. It is the first time an Ivy League team has earned an at-large bid to the tournament.

Seton Hall, the eighth seed in the Bridgeport Region, takes on ninth seed Duquesne in Storrs, Conn., Saturday. After many losing seasons, this is the third consecutive year the Pirates see postseason action—2014 in the WNIT and last year and this year in the NCAA Tournament.

It will be a historic first tournament trip for Iona, which earned its dance ticket by winning the MAAC championship. The Gaels, 15th seed in the Lexington Region, take on second-seeded Maryland in College Park Saturday. It hasn’t been a perfect season for the Gaels, but they’ve stuck together and kept this end-goal in sight.

“This group has been special all year,” said Iona coach Billi Godsey, who noted that several players have led the team in scoring and rebounding. “This is something that has been brewing all season long for them. They’re a team that really respects each other and that works hard for each other.”

A tournament berth is a dream that senior Joy Adams has had throughout her college career. This season, she consistently delivered double-doubles despite being double and triple teamed.

“This group has been tough and resilient. They’ve met adversity,” said Godsey. “Joy is a great teammate and a good person.”