St. Joseph's, Missouri -- here they come! Congratulations to the Knights on their Atlantic Region championship via a 65-48 victory tonight over Millersville. The number you're going to hear incessantly until March 23 will be "eight," as in Elite 8. That's truly a tremendous accomplishment for Gannon, on top of a perfect 36-0 record.
But the "8" that I'm amazed at is the "8" in the attendance figure of 2800. I knew a lot of people would attend the game, somewhere north of 2000, but I never thought in my lifetime a women's basketball game would sell out the Hammermill Center. I recall the days when the Lady Knights couldn't fill the Audi's plush seats for local rivalry games against Mercyhurst and Edinboro. To pack the place is a tribute to Coach Wright, everyone else in his program, and the Erie community.
Next on the docket is upstart Tusculum College, the #7 seed in the Southeast Region and 4th place finisher in the SAC (no, not Student Activities Center -- the South Atlantic Conference) and a 70-63 winner tonight at host Lander. Diminutive SAC player of the year Jasmine Gunn, a 4-foot-11 junior, led the Pioneers (23-9) with 30 points by shooting 11-for-20 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line. Before their current 9-game win streak, Tusculum was just 14-9 overall, a mediocre 7-6 in the conference. (Notice I didn't say they were "mediocre in the SAC." Stop your snickering.)
For more info on GU's next opponent, click here. But don't click there right now. Celebrate tonight -- start preparing tomorrow.