MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Southern Vermont College is headed back to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women’s basketball championship tournament for the first time since 2016 as the Mountaineers secured the No. 8 seed in the 2019 postseason.
SVC is making its third-ever trip to the playoffs in program history after posting a league record of 4-14 (6-19 overall). Southern Vermont will head to top-seeded New England College on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Mountaineer head coach Christin Gowan is bringing her squad to the tournament in just her second year at the helm of the team.
“It's very exciting for our program,” Gowan said. “However, I think our team would agree that we had a disappointing season up until this point. We dealt with injuries all year long and had to overcome adversity to get to where we are now. Luckily, now everyone is essentially 0-0, and we have the same opportunity to advance as everyone else.”
Southern Vermont will bring a fairly young team to the playoffs—a squad that includes only one senior and three active juniors. What the Mountaineers lack in collegiate experience, however, they make up for in personality.
“Our team is hilarious,” Gowan said. “Through everything we faced this year, the players kept smiles on their faces and kept cracking jokes. The bus rides to and from games were some of the most fun I’ve had coaching.”
SVC fell in both of its regular season games against NEC this year—losing 83-57 and 68-39.
“We know that we face a solid New England College team,” Gowan noted, “and it's going to take a special performance on Tuesday to upset them at home. Fortunately, we have the talent and determination to do it; we just have to put it together.”
A victory at NEC would then pit the Mountaineers against the winner of No. 4 Eastern Nazarene College (18-7, 13-5 NECC) and fifth-seeded Dean College (12-13, 10-8 NECC) on Thursday for a semifinal bout. Gowan and her team, however, are not yet looking that far ahead.
“We are focusing on one possession at a time,” she said. “We have to have quality possessions on offense and be relentless on defense. If we do that effectively, I like our chances.”
The other side of the bracket has Mitchell College (16-9, 15-3 NECC) as the No. 2 seed and hosting seventh-seeded Elms College (12-13, 8-10 NECC). The team to advance from that matchup will take on the winner of sixth-seeded Newbury College (10-15, 8-10 NECC) at No. 3 Becker College (18-7, 15-3 NECC) in Thursday’s other semifinal tilt. MC had a win against New England to take the tiebreaker over Becker while Newbury’s in-division strength of schedule was better than Elms’ for the Nighthawks to benefit from that tiebreaker.
Thursday’s winners will then line up on Saturday for the title with the highest remaining seed hosting the championship.
2019 NECC Women's Basketball Championship
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, February 19
Game 1: #8 Southern Vermont at #1 New England Col. - 7 p.m.
Game 2: #7 Elms at #2 Mitchell - 6 p.m.
Game 3: #6 Newbury at #3 Becker- 7 p.m.
Game 4: #5 Dean at #4 Eastern Nazarene- 7 p.m.
Semifinals - Thursday, February 21 (at higher seeds)
Game 5: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 1 Winner - TBA
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner - TBA
Championship - Saturday, February 23
Game 7: Semifinal winners at the highest remaining seed - TBA
– #LetsGoSVC –