You can set your clock to it. In the third week of March, once again the Monroe Mustangs women’s basketball team will play in the national tournament.
With Saturday’s 76-69 semifinal win over Harcum in the District N-O tournament and 78-64 victory over CCRI in the district final, the Mustangs clinched their 10th consecutive appearance in the NJCAA women’s basketball national championships. It’s a remarkable legacy that speaks to quality coaching and recruiting, player talent and dedication, and a college-wide commitment to success–the hallmark of Monroe College for the last 80 years.
And the Mustangs haven’t been satisfied with just participating in the nationals, they come to play … and win. In the nine previous years–six in Division III and three in Division II–they’ve won four national championships, were finalists once and semifinalists twice. In fact, as they prepare for their 2013 run, they are two-time defending national champs and the only team to play in the last four DII nationals.
“I won’t be thinking much of the big picture or the long-term implications until the end of the month, because right now we have work to do,” said coach James Robinson Jr., who has been on the Mustangs’ staff for six of the trips to the dance. He was the head coach for last year’s national title and an assistant on two other championships.
“I remind our athletes time and again that what we have here at Monroe is not just a team, but a program, and a lot of our success can be traced to the support we get from the college, administrators, faculty, the medical staff, and even the student body [and] our fans who come to support us, just like they did when they came to Pennsylvania on Saturday.”
Monroe will open play in the NJCAA Division II National Championships in Peoria, Ill., as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 Iowa Central on Tuesday, March 19 at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. EST).