Monday, March 19, 2007

How Sweet It Is! Marist of Poughkeepsie eases into Cinderella Slipper for the Big Dance

Growing up in the New York Hudson Valley area near Poughkeepsie makes me a Red Foxes fan. Prior to this weekend Marist Collegiate sports has struggled for what little recognition they've received since gaining membership into the NCAA.

The only Pro player out of Marist that comes to mind is former Indiana Pacer Rik Smits. Poughkeepsie is still proud of Smits stellar career in the NBA.

After seeing the Marist Women's Basketball team earn a sweet 16 birth tonight, maybe the nation will finally applaud a small school like Marist for hanging with the Big Dogs. The media can label them cinderella if they want to, but to me the Red Foxes are more like a Cinderella Man (1935 Heaveyweight Boxing Champion James J. Braddock). They don't fit the excepted concept of a women's basketball powerhouse, they weren't supposed to be here but here they are lining up for the home stretch and scaring the hell out of the competition.

I'm still kicking myself for not going down to the Standford campus in Palo Alto to watch either of the two games in which they won. I found tickets on craiglist for as little as $10 on Saturday but other weekend activities won out. Forgive me Lady Red Foxes for commiting such a sin.

ESPN hasn't been kind to the Red Foxes either, only showing half of their upset victory over fourth seeded Ohio State this weekend. But you can believe they'll get all the hype and attention of every sports network leading up to the sweet sixteen with this latest win over 5th seeded Middle Tennessee. The 73-59 victory makes Marist only the third No.13 seed to ever reach the NCAA Women's field of 16 teams since the expansion to 64 team play.
Marist guard Nikki Flores (22) keeps the ball away from Middle Tennessee guard Jackie Pickel

Congratulations Marist Red Foxes for making believers out of many and giving hope to all the small schools in the nation. May the force continue to guide you on this miraculous journey into unknown territory.

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