The Marist women's basketball team will be making a cross-country trip for its NCAA tournament appearance, but the Red Foxes aren't likely to mind at all.
Marist, which finished 26-7 overall this season, goes to California to play against Georgietown (25-6) at the University of California at Berkley's Haas Pavilion Saturday in an 8:21 p.m. contest that will be televised by ESPN2.
It's a trip the program has made before for NCAA games, and one on which it has had success.
In 2007 the Red Foxes were sent west to play games at Stanford, and earned victories there over Ohio State in the first round and over Middle Tennessee State in the second round. That success remains the only time in the MAAC's 29-year history that one of its teams have won two NCAA tournament games in the same season.
"It really doesn't get any better than that," Marist coach Brian Giorgis told reporters, shortly after learning the Red Foxes' fate at a party at Shadows on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. "There is so much anticipation, it's wonderful, it's ecstatic. The kids just jump around when they find out. You know you are playing, but sometimes you don't have who and where straight."
Marist is the No. 12 seed, while Georgetown is the No. 5 seed. Marist entered the 2007 tournament as the No. 13 seed and, then, won its first two tournament games.
As a No. 12 seed last year, the Red Foxes lost to Virginia 68-61 in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles.
Marist is 3-5 in its previous five appearances in the NCAA tournament. The Red Foxes last played Georgetown in November 2000, losing 74-50.
Georgetown is ranked 13th in the final Associated Press national poll and was third in the Big East during the regular season at 13-3. Freshman guard Ta'Shauna "Sugar" Rodgers leads Georgetown in scoring with 18.2 points per game.
If Marist beats the Hoyas, it would play the winner of No. 4 Baylor against No. 13 Fresno State in the second round in Berkeley. Tennessee is the No. 1 seed in the region.
"It's going to be difficult, but we're going to be aggressive," Giorgis said. "We are going to go in with the attitude of the hunter, rather than the hunted, like we've been all year. We will see what we do."