Immaculata University Magazine - Spring 2011 - page 18

t was a little like Santa Barbara Junior Col-
lege dumping the UCLA cagers or Delaware
County Community College thumping the
There’s just no way to describe the immensity of
Immaculata’s upset 52-48 win over mightyWest
Chester State in the finals of the National Women’s
Invitational Basketball Tournament yesterday.
Here they were, on one hand Carol Eckman’s
mightyWest Chester State cagers…unbeaten
throughout the season…always considered a na-
tional power among women’s basketball teams…
On the other hand, Cathy Rush’s Immaculata
basketball team. Pretty good one, but…
No way the Immaculata club could stay with
West Chester State in the battle of the neighbors
who were playing out in Normal, Illinois for the
national championship.
Oh, Immaculata had some impressive credentials
going into the final tilt. TheMalvern cagers hadwon
24 during the season and only lost once. However,
that loss was a real thumping…a 70-38 defeat a week
ago at Towson, Maryland in the eastern finals. Guess
who beat theMacs? Right—West Chester.
It didn’t take Immaculata’s unheralded team long
to become the darling of the fans at the tournament
out in Illinois. TheMacs opened up by beating
SouthDakota State 50-47 in the first round.
Wi n Thr i l l e r
Then came a thriller against Indiana State…a big
favorite. Cathy Rush’s quintet won that one 49-47,
but that appeared to be it as the next obstacle was
Mississippi State College forWomen, the top seed in
the 16-team tourney.
In her nightly call to her husband, Ed Rush, the
NBA ref who was busy on theWest Coast, Cathy
reported that she thought herMacs had a chance.
“Don’t be upset if you don’t win,” counseled the
veteran cage official. “You’ve come a lot farther than
most people thought you could.”
Nevertheless, Immaculata went right at the
defending champions and eked out another win,
this one a 46-43 thriller, to advance into Sunday
afternoon’s final.
Meanwhile, West Chester State’s Ramettes were
having things pretty easy in the first couple of
games, ripping Utah State 79-45 andNorthern Il-
linois 66-54 before tackling a tiger inCalifornia State
at Fullerton in the semi-final.
Carol Eckman’sWCS quintet squeaked through
that one for a one-point win to gain the finals.
There was no doubt but that theMacs of tiny Im-
maculata were the darlings of the crowd yesterday.
This was Cinderella stuff at its best…the little school
with less than 800 students and no physical educa-
tion program to speak of against its big neighbor
with its national reputation.
“We decided to play patient basketball,” an ex-
hausted Cathy Rush reported too early this morning
when a reporter woke her with his phone call. “Last
week they killed us inside andwe were determined
not to let this happen again,” theMacs coach said.
Good Mat chups
“I started ReneMuth (a 5’ 10” freshman) to
help give us some goodmatchups and, along with
Theresa Shank who played Jackie Johnson (West
Chester’s fine 6’ 0”), they gave us some goodD,”
recalled Cathy in her best Jack Ramseymanner.
“One of the big keys was the playmaking of De-
nise Conway whomoved the ball well againstWest
Chester’s 2-2-1 zone press. She had three options
when she got upcourt and she utilized themall well.”
That theMacs’ defensive strategy workedwould
Immaculata girls
Top We st Che ster State 52 - 4 8
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