Bates women get set to play Bridgewater in NCAA tournament
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|NESCAC Player of the Year Meg Coffin ’07 leads the Bobcats into their second straight NCAA tournament appearance on Friday.|
LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates College women’s basketball team is in Newburgh, N.Y., today in preparation for its second straight NCAA Division III tournament appearance.
Seeded No. 7 in the Atlantic Regional, the Bobcats play Bridgewater (Va.) College (22-6) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Mount Saint Mary College in the opening round of the tournament; should they win, they’ll play again on Saturday at 5 p.m., again at Mount Saint Mary, against the winner between the host team (25-3) and Baruch College (22-6) of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mount Saint Mary is the No. 6 seed and one of four host sites in the Atlantic Regional; the other sites in this regional are No. 1 Southern Maine, No. 2 Mary Washington and No. 3 Bowdoin.
Although Bates’ 19-8 record heading into the NCAAs is inferior to the other three teams playing at Mount Saint Mary, the Bobcats are the only team ranked among the Top 25 in this week’s D3Hoops.com poll, where they’re rated No. 24.
Undoubtedly, that’s due to the team’s difficulty of schedule: seven of the Bobcats’ eight losses have come against other teams in the Top 25: two against No. 5 Bowdoin, one against No. 1 Southern Maine, one against No. 12 Baldwin-Wallace, one against No. 13 Brandeis, one against No. 18 Simpson and one against No. 23 Williams. Bates has also defeated Bowdoin once and Williams twice, making its record against Top 25 teams 3-7.
It’s also worth noting that the losses to Brandeis and Southern Maine came with starters Meg Coffin, Jackie Powers and Matia Kostakis all out of the lineup, and those against Baldwin-Wallace and Simpson came with Powers and Kostakis playing their first two games for Bates.
The Bridgewater Eagles, by comparison, have not been challenged as hard by this measure. Bridgewater is 1-2 against the Top 25, with an overtime win over No. 7 Randolph-Macon to its credit, and losses against Randolph-Macon and No. 8 Mary Washington. Neither of the other teams in this “pod”, Mount Saint Mary and Baruch, have played against a team currently in the Top 25.
Bridgewater, the runner-up to Randolph-Macon in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, is making its first NCAA appearance in seven years. Aside from 6-2 first-year center Rebecca Henderson, the Eagles are a small team, as evidenced by their top rebounder being 5-4 Katy Herr.
Marsha Kinder, the team’s lone senior, leads Bridgewater in scoring at 17.2 points per game. Kinder, 24, had brief stints at West Virginia and James Madison before landing at Bridgewater, and she was recently named to the ESPN College Division All-Academic team.