Monday, March 12, 2012

For Marist Women, Lucky No. 13 Seeding Position

It's lucky No. 13 for the Marist women's basketball team in the NCAA tournament.

The Red Foxes found out from Monday night's selection show that they'll be a No. 13 seed, pretty much as expected, and face off with fourth-seeded Georgia Sunday at 12:08 p.m. in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Lady Bulldogs are young and balanced with just one senior in its eight-person playing group and no player averaging more than the 13.2 points per game they get from 6-foot-2 forward Jasmine Hassell.

Lucky position for Marist?

The Red Foxes, in 2007, became the first women's or men's team to advance to the NCAA tournament's round of 16. That year Marist defeated Ohio State in the opening round and Middle Tennessee in the second round.

And, that year, Marist was a No. 13 seed.

The seeding position is relatively advantageous for a program like Marist that traditionally gets slightly overlooked due to its membership in a mid-major level conference.

But, as a 13th seed, Marist avoids the handful of truly powerhouse women's programs that occupy the top seeding positions.

Georgia, with a 22-8 overall record, is a 22-8 seed and, at least on paper, will not overwhelm Marist with height, experience or an unstoppable individual performer.

The game's winner advances to meet the winner of a game between No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure and No. 12 seeded Florida Gulf Coast.

Marist has a 25-7 overall record and is tournament tested with a roster full of players who have been through post-season games together. The Red Foxes are making their seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and have won a first-round game in three of the previous six seasons.

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