Mount waits on goggles, hopes Rowlyk can deliver vs. Alabama NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT THE ROAD STARTS HERE


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The biggest obstacle facing Mount St. Mary's might not be playing 13th-ranked Alabama on its home court in the East Regional of the NCAA women's tournament.

Instead, it might be whether the delivery man arrives in time before the 13th-seeded Mountaineers (24-5) meet the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide (20-8) tonight at approximately 9:30 at Coleman Coliseum.

Susie Rowlyk, the Mount's leading scorer at 15.8 points, is questionable because of an eye injury suffered in a collision with an official.

"At first, we didn't think she'd make the trip," Mount coach Bill Sheahan said yesterday. "But she will not be allowed to play without protective goggles."

Sheahan, who had expected the goggles to arrive in Tuscaloosa Tuesday night, said, "They are supposed to arrive [today]. We hope they don't arrive too late. She's questionable without the goggles."

Without the 6-foot-2 Rowlyk, the Mount's matchup problems become even more significant. The Mount, with four guards in the starting lineup, already were at a height disadvantage, especially against the Tide's 6-2 junior center, Yolanda Watkins.

This is the Mount's second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, and Alabama is making its fourth straight trip. The Tide reached the Final Four last season.

But Rowlyk said the Mount -- which has won 18 in a row and 22 its past 23 -- will not be awe-struck.

"Coming back to the NCAA is a great accomplishment," she said. "We're excited being here. Our attitude is it's a great experience, but we're going to play to win.

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