Frostburg State's women's basketball team (23-1) likely will have a Division III national tournament bid at stake this afternoon when it plays for the championship of the Eastern States Athletic Conference.
Before last night's 22nd consecutive victory, an 86-50 semifinal win over Cabrini, the team was ranked fifth in the region. That ranking did not reflect conference tournament losses by Heidelberg and Montclair State, two teams rated ahead of it.
Last night, a school spokesman said that with a win today, "the team would stand a good chance" of receiving a bid.
A year ago, coach Jim Crawley directed the team to a 22-6 record, including lopsided wins (36 and 26 points) in a season-ending Eastern College Athletic Conference-South tournament. This season, there are 10 new faces -- three junior college transfers and seven freshmen -- and some of last year's players failed to make this squad.
The leaders are Sheila Colbert, a 6-foot senior, who averages 19.1 points and 10 rebounds, and Nicole Bashaw, a 6-1 sophomore, with averages of 18.5 points and 10 rebounds. The other holdover is senior guard Leslie Bartlett. Hagerstown Junior College transfers Michele Chelednek and Anita Mauger complete the starting cast.
"The combination of experienced players from successful junior college programs blending with the veterans, and depth -- we've never had that before," says Crawley, in his 13th season.