We played UM Western on Saturday to get out the cobwebs and butterflies so to speak. However, in the Fieldhouse one insect will always be there, the fly!
The preseason has now begun. Here is why the preseason schedule is so important. The Big Sky Conference has an automatic birth to the NCAA's for the team that wins the conference tournament. However, what happens after that? The second team is guaranteed the WNIT, but it may have only been one time that two teams from the Big Sky were selected to play in the NCAA tournament.
I know because I was on the OTHER team the year this happened, Boise State. The reason we were selected to play in the NCAA's is because both Boise and Montana were ranked nationally. We had both performed extremely well in our preseason schedules.
Your strength of schedule determines which schools will be nationally ranked. In 1993 Boise State had beaten the likes of Western Kentucky and UCLA on both home courts. At the time both schools were ranked high nationally which ultimately paid off.
I remember both games vividly, first at Western Kentucky. They had a tradition of NEVER losing on their home floor. WK had a pretty incredible record at home and when the "spuds" came to town is was a bit of a surpise. Late in the game, their head coach had broken the tip of his pen and was foaming "blue ink" from his mouth. I was about to suggest some shots for rabbies. Instead we just hustled out of there.
The UCLA game was even more entertaining as my head coach June Daughtery was pregnant with her twins and wearing a bright yellow suit. With under ten seconds left in the game we hit a shot to go up by one. On tape you can see June flapping her arms up and down screaming not to foul. It looked like a distorted version of Big Bird from Sesame Street. UCLA's Natalie Williams (who also played in the WNBA) had an open layup and MISSED!
We ran out of there even faster. So you see, the preseason can be pretty exciting as well. That year we sold out the Boise State Pavilion holding nearly 12,000 people for our home game verses Montana. We won that game, but ultimately they got us at tournament time. We were thankful we had performed so well in the preseason to still get selected to the tournament.
We are now going on four years with the Bobcats. The Bobcats definitely want and believe we have more in store than a third place finish in conference. We having a challenging preseason schedule ahead and a very difficult conference race. Who knows what is in store for this year's team. I am certain, however, that my team will know how important every game is. When you put a uniform on, how could you expect anything less.