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Ephs men and women hoops prepare for tournament glory

For the first time ever, the Lady Ephs are packing their bags for the Final Four this weekend in Holland, Mich.

Pat Manning’s team earned their trip last week in Williamstown by beating both Ithaca and Whitman at Chandler gymnasium to earn the prestigious championship trip.

“We are thrilled – a first for our program – and the fact we had the celebration at home in front of our fans is just unbelievable,” said 23 –year Williams head coach Pat Manning.

The women will fly out of Albany on Wednesday morning to Detroit before heading to Holland, Michigan – site of this year’s Division 3 Final Four.

Williams will take on no. 1 DePauw (Indiana), who, at 32-0, has been the consensus no. 1 team in the country for a majority of the season, Friday (March 15) at 7 p.m.

“I feel we match up well with them,” Manning said. “We play similar styles – they like to push the pace like we do – they are very quick and they lead with their defense just as we do.”

The Ephs utilized their senior leadership to get by a pesky Ithaca team, 64-60 in overtime, in the Sweet Sixteen match-up, before handling Whitman the following night, 63-53.

“Our seniors are definitely leading the way,” Manning said of her six seniors. “That’s what I like about this team – I have coached a lot of great teams over the years – this one is unique because they never get rattled in crunch time – we could be behind and it doesn’t matter.”

While the Eph women are on the road playing in the Final Four, Men’s Coach Mike Maker has his team at home this Saturday (March 16) at 7 p.m. to host the pre-season no. 1 team in the country, Virginia Wesleyan, in the Sweet Sixteen.

“Virginia Wesleyan’s strength is they take away the three-point shot,” Maker said. “We may have to win another way.”

The Williams men have been shooting the lights out at Chandler the past two weeks with wins over Wesley College (Delaware), 79-78, and Catholic University (Washington, D.C.), 89-78, as the Ephs knocked down 14 three-pointers alone in the Catholic Univ. win.

“We need to take what the defense gives us,” Maker said.

Virginia Wesleyan holds opponents to 29 percent shooting from behind the arc, while the Ephs comfortably shoot nearly 40 percent from long distance.

“I think they are going to come at us off the line, make us look down [in the post],” Maker said. “They are certainly going to present us a lot of challenges – they are quick at every position – they are long, athletic, and again [Head Coach Dave Macedo] does as good as a job as any team in the country – well-prepared.”

Coach Maker and the Ephs are excited to be hosting their third consecutive post-season game this Saturday at 7 p.m. in Chandler, as the community and student body has given his team a boost in the previous two rounds.

“We are very excited to be playing at Chandler – we could really use the crowd and we are going to need it against a very talented Virginia Wesleyan team,” Maker said.

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Posted by on March 14, 2013. Filed under College Sports,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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