UMD women’s basketball embrace season of ‘first’ ahead of NCAA title game

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This season and subsequent post season run has been filled with first for the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women’s basketball team. First time hosting a regional, first time making the final four, and now the first time playing in the NCAA National Championship.

So in a season of new oppurtuniities, does it make heading to Dallas and playing on an NBA court for the first time any easier?

“It’s something we’ve prepared for all season during practice and it’s been a goal of ours. However we don’t really think about that during the season. We take it one game at a time but now that we’re here there is going to be a little bit of nerves, but I feel like as a team we’ll be able to fight those off,” said junior guard Taya Hakamaki.

“Once the game is in motion or when I’m preparing, it’s all going to be the same because I think that one of our strengths this year has been our consistency. So it’s it’s kind of my job to to make sure that we we stick with that until the buzzer rings at the end of the game,” added head coach Mandy Pearson.

The Bulldogs come into the game with a winning streak of 14 games in a row. Looking to make it 15 with a win against an undefeated 36-0 Ashland squad.

“We just kind of keep saying one more game, one more game, and just never overlooking the game that we have ahead of us through this whole playoff run. So I think that’s kind of helped us just keep getting over those next opponent and get us to this point in the season,” continued graduate student guard Maesyn Thiesen.

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“It hasn’t really set in yet. I think Wednesday morning when we’re packing up and we’re hitting the plane is when we’re going to really realize how big of an opportunity this is for us. Super exciting to play on such a cool core play with all three levels of women’s basketball it’s pretty amazing. So we’re really excited,” concluded senior guard Taytum Rhodes.

The title game is this Saturday, with the ball set to tip-off at 2:30 p.m.