“We've been trying to treat this as a regular weekend,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “That's hard to do.
“We realize the enormity of this. Our players know how hard they hard to work to get here.”
Despite the enormity of the task at hand, Rosenthal has allowed his players to have some fun on this trip, something he did not do in 2007 when the Lady Bisons made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“When it is time to take it seriously we will,” said Rosenthal.
The two teams will face each other at 5 Friday at St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State. Cincinnati plays Ohio State in match two. The winners play Saturday in the second round at 6.
Rosenthal met with the team Thursday night after practice and a dinner of chicken Parmesan and various pastas at Buca Di Beppo . But the time for talking is over.
“There is nothing I can say at this point that is going to help them play any better,” said Rosenthal. “We have players like Erin Pierce, a fifth-year senior who just wants to keep on extending her career one more match.
“Alex Kelly and Jake Pease come from very good club teams. They are used to winning and they want Lipscomb to gain national respect. And if you want respect you have to go out and take it.”
The Lady Bisons came to Columbus more than a little upset with the decision by the NCAA Selection Committee to place them against a top 10 seed. The California players added to the intensity of the match up for the Lady Bisons by giving them a “stare down” as they walked off the court after practice Thursday.
“The girls know what is at stake,” said Rosenthal. “They have been preparing for this for four months. I don't think there is one girl on this team who expects we are going to lose. We just have to play like we know how to play.”