winning the Atlantic Region championship tonight over California (Pa.), 50-47. Gannon survived a shooting chart of 15-for-53 (28%) and 2-of-13 on threes (15%) plus a trio of Cal three-point attempts as time wound down to secure their trip to San Antonio.
As gut-wrenching as the game felt to the Gannon team and fans -- my brother texted me the word "exhale" soon after the game ended -- this should be a confidence-builder for the Lady Knights. They didn't play their optimal game in the Sweet 16 but still advanced. Every team that wins a championship has a game like this. Monday night I watched the ESPN "30 For 30" documentary "Survive And Advance" about the 1983 NC State national championship men's team, and they played at least a half dozen games in which they were left for dead. Gannon survived and advanced, earning their berth in San Antonio.
The Lady Knights next opponent is a familiar one. Ashland (34-1) is a former GLIAC foe who defeated Gannon back on Nov. 10 at the Disney Classic, 70-59. The Eagles held off Wayne State tonight, 72-63, to capture the Midwest Region. They were #2 in the final regular season Division II USA Today top 25 coaches poll while the Lady Knights were #7.
For the next week or so, forget about the phrase "Don't Mess With Texas." We're replacing it with the Gannon Hoops motto: We Believe In Cleve! BIG THANKS to the Gannon fan who made this sign for tonight's game. I wonder if we can get Gannon to change its motto from "Believe In The Possibilities" to "We Believe In Cleve!" until the end of Gannon's run this year.