Women’s team dominates season

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MARY BOVE/THE HIGHLANDER

The team celebrates a home win against King’s College during the regular season.

Kayla Kubbishun, Reporter

Changing coaches is hard, but changing coaches half through a season is even harder.

Dave Martin, interim head coach of the women’s basketball team, has done the impossible:  Not only did he step in as coach midseason after the abrupt resignation of former coach Tom Griffith, he led the team to their first ever berth in the NCAA Division-III basketball tournament.

The team only has three losses with Martin as their coach, and ended the regular season 17-10. The women went undefeated at home—7-0.  The team went on a winning streak early in the season with six games in a row, then again later in the season with four in a row.

Martin credits the players.  “What this team has accomplished is a direct result of what these ladies have done, and they are fantastic, and have done a great job.”

With their regular season behind them the girls showed up in their 4th consecutive playoff game since entering the MAC conference four years ago. Along with that, their appearance in the MAC Championship game for the second year made an impact. Loosing in the championship game last year meant beating Kings College this season was the ultimate revenge. Not only did the women get a MAC Championship; they made the first ever bid into the NCAA Tournament for the school.

“I think this group is special,” Martin said.  “I think we have good leadership, I think it’s a close knit group, and I think they care about each other, and when things get tough those come into play.”

Martin has a widespread basketball background.  He spent five years as an Assistant Coach at Wilkes University, and 14 years as the MU men’s basketball coach which prepared him for his current position as athletic director.

“From my perspective it couldn’t have gone any better” said Martin, “It really is just attributed to the girls and the assistant coaches.”

Martin’s coaching philosophy may help the team as well. When Martin stepped in that last thing he wanted to do was overhall the program. He just followed to rules, he said.  “We are going to guard people, and we are going to play defense, and it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we score.”

The team followed his lead, and they have averaged 64.7 point a game. Martin said his players set the tone.  “It’s a lot easier for on one person to adjust to 17 people then it is for them to adjust to me.”

Martin’s next step is to conduct a national search for permanent head coach for the Lady Cougars.

“I think the key is to find the right person to fit Misericordia,” he said. “I think that the key is to try to find the person that is the right fit for our situation as well as someone who can lead and roll model for our young women.”