NCAA Tournament 2001 - Daugherty: '... we are a dangerous team'

Daugherty: '... we are a dangerous team'

Associated Press

SEATTLE – While her teammates scurried Monday to finish papers and take final exams, Washington guard Megan Franza had only one test on her mind: Beating Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies' leading scorer doesn't have any finals this quarter – she planned it that way. She's studying Old Dominion game film.

"You learn how to swing it by your senior year," said Franza, who's averaging 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. "I have no stress in that area. I'm just focusing on Old Dominion."

The West Region's sixth-seeded Huskies (19-9), who received an at-large bid into the tournament, leave Tuesday for Gainesville, Fla. They will play the No. 11-seeded Monarchs (21-8) of Norfolk, Va., on Friday.

The Huskies are making their first NCAA appearance since 1998, when six of the team's seniors were freshmen. They lost games at USC and UCLA last week to finish in a three-way tie for the Pacific-10 Conference championship with Stanford and Arizona State. Stanford earned the automatic berth to the tournament.

"We had to learn from them and get past them," senior Jill Pimley said of the losses in Los Angeles. "We still know we're a great team and that we can do great things in the tournament. Right now there are too many thoughts going through my head. I'm so excited I can't sleep."

Coach June Daugherty is stressing that her team play relaxed.

"I've been able to coach in the tournament a few times," Daugherty said. "We have to enjoy the moment and not get ahead of ourselves. ... When we're relaxed and play as a team and play focused, we are a dangerous team."

Whatever happens, the Huskies – winners of seven of their last 10 games – say they will look back on this season with fond memories. They made a remarkable turnaround from last season, when the team finished ninth in the Pac-10 at 4-14 and won only eight games.

"Especially compared to last year, it's so exciting to be in this position right now," said Pimley, whose parents, grandparents, younger brother and fiance will be there to cheer for her.

"I'm totally trying to appreciate every moment I have left with basketball."

Old Dominion secured an automatic bid by winning its 10th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association title Saturday with a 66-62 victory over James Madison.

The Monarchs, who have won nine of their last 10 regular season games under coach Wendy Larry, have an overall tournament record of 29-16 in 17 years, including an appearance last year.

Franza says her team will be ready.

"To be able to finish at the tournament is amazing," Franza said. "We will not be in awe of the tournament."

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