The Big East Women's Basketball Tournament is coming to Chicago's Wintrust Arena March 9-12 and I will be "On the Beat" as always. I wrote an early preview of the tourney for the Patch at The Big East Women's Basketball Tournament Comes to Chicago. I also wrote several stories on Big East women's basketball for Global Traveler.
I had my first up close look at collegiate women's basketball at last season's tournament. The championship game saw DePaul beat Marquette. As exciting as it was to see my alma mater DePaul win in their home city, that game was only a small part of the excitement of the tourney.
That weekend launched me on a mission to cover and watch more collegiate women's basketball this season. The first step in that goal was Marquette's Media Day last November. I got to meet and talk to the coaches and the players.
Right from Coach Carolyn Kieger's opening statements, you could see Marquette was on a mission this season. She talked of high expectations. She stressed that the seniors needed to lead like last year's seniors. The others needed to step up their game to fill supporting roles.There was a real calm determination to her speech, but there was also the fun element.
She talked about wanting the players to experience all of this. That really hit home with me, because I always try to soak in my moments. I always try to appreciate the special moments I have, like standing on Marquette's court interviewing this great team.
As of this writing, Marquette is meeting all expectations. Sitting in first place, they were undefeated until dropping a game last week. Still, they remain the team to beat, despite DePaul being the defending champs.
Of course, you can't count out DePaul. They sit in 2nd place and seem to be improving. Coach Doug Bruno isn't ready to concede the league title just yet.
Of course, there are other teams who might have plans for that title, too. The Big East isn't a 2 team league. Butler, Providence, Villanova and the others are all capable of putting a run together.
I am really looking forward to the tourny. It's going to be a weekend of great basketball, elite athletes, drama and entertainment.
You can go to BigEast.com to get all of the latest news and the tourney info. I hope to see Wintrust packed with basketball fans!
Carolyn Kieger and me in Milwaukee, WI-November 2018.