The 2012-13 MIAC Women's Basketball Playoffs continue tonight (Thursday, Feb. 21) with a pair of highly anticipated semifinal games. Though there were some nervous moments, No. 3 Saint Mary's and No. 4 Saint Benedict both won their quarterfinal games Tuesday to advance to tonight's round. The Cardinals will head to St. Paul to face second-seeded St. Thomas, while the Blazers are headed north to Moorhead to take on top seed and regular-season champ Concordia.
Though upsets are extremely fashionable in the college basketball postseason at all levels, it seems appropriate that the four teams left standing in the MIAC Women's Basketball Playoffs are the Cobbers, Tommies, Saint Mary's and Saint Ben's. All four are in the 20-win club this season and each won at least 17 conference games, with just two game separating the talented foursome in the MIAC standings. It seems only right these four would get to have one last chance to settle the score with one another on the court.
Along with tonight's MIAC Playoff semifinal games, the newest feature in this space continues today as well with our second installment of the MIAC Media Blog Championship Coach Q&A. Concordia opens the postseason tonight after a tremendous 20-5 regular season with a 19-3 MIAC record that helped it claim the conference title by a single game over Saint Mary's and St. Thomas, and two games over Saint Ben's. Here's what Cobber Head Coach Jessica Rahman had to say about her team's success this season and a fitting "Final Four" in the MIAC Women's Basketball Playoffs.
MIAC Media Blog Championship Coach Q&A
Jessica Rahman, Concordia Women's Basketball
|Concordia Head Coach|
MIAC: First of all, how does it feel to win the MIAC regular championship? What are some of your team’s qualities that made you so successful this year?
RAHMAN: I believe that the MIAC is such a tough, competitive league and winning the regular season championship is really a grueling test for teams. I feel excited for the team to be able to have a reward of this type for all their hard work. This year’s team is truly a team of friends that love the game of basketball and play off of each other’s talents and strengths. They have worked extremely hard at improving their own individual games and the overall play of the team. Their teamwork has gotten them to this point.
MIAC: Your team has a terrific pair of senior leaders in Trisha Sorenson and Emily Thesing. Talk about what they mean to your team, both in terms of their basketball skill, and their leadership.
RAHMAN: Emily and Tricia are both talented basketball players in their own rights. They have played a significant role in scoring, rebounding, playmaking and defending throughout their careers at Concordia. They also understand the value of hard work, and portray the necessity of that to the younger players on the team.
Emily and Tricia have been two-year captains for our team and have really grown into that leadership role. They each have their own leadership style which fits perfectly with their personalities. The way in which they have coordinated this season and worked together within each of their leadership roles has been significant in setting a great example for the younger players. It seems that they know and understand that their leadership is not just about this season but seasons to come. They are carrying on the tradition of Cobber basketball.
|Cobber senior Tricia Sorenson|
(Photo courtesy of Concordia Sports Information)
MIAC: Talk about some of the other players who have been important to your team’s success, especially some players whose contributions might now always show up in the box score.
RAHMAN: The success of this team is based on those players who are willing to do the work and not really care about who gets the credit. This, “team first,” mentality has been crucial in allowing this team to get better every day. I dare to say that this list could be very long…because I would include those kids who don’t see any playing time.
MIAC: Your team won the MIAC Playoff title in 2010-11. How will that experience help your team this week as it opens up postseason play?
RAHMAN: There are a few on the squad that got to experience that win and it has been their motivating factor to become the best players they can be.
MIAC: It seems fitting that your team, St. Thomas, Saint Mary’s and Saint Ben’s are the final four in the MIAC Playoffs after all four teams had great seasons and battled one another. What are your expectations for the MIAC Playoffs the rest of the way, and what will your team need to do to be successful?
RAHMAN: The Playoff games will be no different than the regular-season games, in that all teams will be battling. Each team is unique and has their special strengths. That is what makes it so competitive. No one team is exactly alike.
MIAC: Thanks to Coach Rahman for her time during a very busy week, and good luck to the Cobbers and all four teams still alive tonight in the MIAC Women's Basketball Playoffs. I'm heading up to Moorhead to take in tonight's Concordia-Saint Ben's semifinal, as well as tomorrow's Cobber-Augsburg men's semifinal, and am excited for two more great nights of MIAC Playoff basketball. Remember to follow the MIAC Women's Basketball Playoffs on the event home page, and on the MIAC Scoreboard. The Championship Coach Q&A will return with another installment Friday, as both men's hockey co-champion coaches weigh in on their team's success and the upcoming Playoffs.