The Centre College women know they can’t make the same mistakes twice.
The margin for error will be smaller tonight when the Colonels face Washington (Mo.) in a second-round game in the NCAA Division III tournament.
For starters, Centre coach Wendie Austin-Robinson said, Centre will have to get off to a better start than it did Friday in its first-round win over Guilford.
“We’ve got to get off to a good start. We can’t dig ourselves out of a hole with a team of their caliber,” Austin-Robinson said.
Centre (25-3) came from behind in the second half to defeat Guilford 59-47, while Washington (21-5) cruised to a 79-64 victory over Ferrum.
The Bears, who finished the regular season ranked No. 9 in both national D-III polls, stand out because they stand tall. Two starters and two others who played significant minutes Friday stand 6 feet or better, and the Bears set a school record with 12 blocked shots in their win over Ferrum.
“They’re big inside, and we’ll have to rebound the ball well from the very beginning,” Austin-Robinson said.
Centre guard Maggie Prewitt said Washington’s physical style of play caught her attention Friday.
“They were really physical, and I noticed they were really a fundamental, skilled basketball team, and that’ll be a lot of fun. It’s not just athleticism,” Prewitt said.
Washington knows its way around the NCAA tournament. The Bears are in the field for the 23rd consecutive years and for the 24th time in 26 seasons under coach Nancy Fahey. They have five national championships — the most recent in 2010 — and 10 Final Four appearances and have been in the title game in four of the last five years.
“We don’t live on reputation. You can’t,” Fahey said. “That’s last year and this is this year, and these are these kids’ dreams and that’s what we try to focus on.”
Austin-Robinson said, however, it’s impossible to disregard Washington’s postseason success.
“They have a great tradition, and they know how to win,” she said.
NCAA Division III Women's Tournament
First and Second Rounds
At Alumni Gymnasium
Washington (Mo.) 79, Ferrum 64
Centre 59, Guilford 47
Washington (Mo.) (21-5) vs. Centre (25-3), 7 p.m.