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Tourney time! Women travel to take on Coe

March 2, 2012

Two senior players on the women’s basketball team that have already reached 1,000 points in their careers, and another has already broken the career rebounding record. This strong senior class has helped lead the Falcon women’s basketball team to their first Division III NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1995 season.

The Falcons earned an at-large bid to the tournament after posting a 21-6 record. With a 21-win season, the at-large berth came to no surprise to Falcon Coach Cindy Holbrook.

“Although you never know what happens when the decision is up to a committee, we knew we had a great chance with a great record and a tough schedule,” said Holbrook. The Falcon women will play Coe College at 5:30 p.m., on Friday at the University of St. Thomas.

Coe won the Iowa Conference Tournament with a 79-59 win over Simpson College on Feb. 25. This gave them an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. They enter the tourney with a 20-7 record.

Guiding the Falcons into this year’s tournament has been a senior class that has already achieved several milestones.

Both Tiffany Gregorich and Alise Holst have reached 1,000 points in their careers. Maranda Dohrn, another senior, set the all-time career rebounding record for UWRF.

“We have really received great leadership from our senior class. They provide balance and they truly compliment each other,” said Holbrook.

Holbrook is in her 13th season with the Falcons. This is the first time she has ever coached in the NCAA Tournament.

As a player, Holbrook led UW-Stout to the NCAA and NAIA tournaments all four years she played.

She is the only person to have been named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Coach of the Year (2001) and WIAC Player of the Year (1994).

However, while the team has had a successful run so far, both Holbrook and her team know that the Falcons are in the tournament to be fierce competitors. “We just need to play smart, hard, and to our strengths. If we do that I think we can go far in the tournament,” said junior Brittany Gregorich.

Brittany Gregorich, who is a sister to teammate Tiffany Gregorich, is second on the team with 75 assists.

Tiffany Gregorich was just named to the All-WIAC first team for the third straight season. She leads the Falcons in scoring, averaging 13 points per game. She also leads the team with 61 steals.

Not far behind her is Holst, who after earning honorable mention to the All-WIAC team a year ago, earned first team honors this year. Holst averages 12.9 points per game. Dohrn also earned honorable mention to the All-WIAC team. She was also named to the All-Defensive team. Dohrn has grabbed 303 rebounds this season and leads UWRF by averaging 11.2 per game. Although the Falcons have not played Coe this season, Holbrook knows that the Falcons match up well against the Coehawks.

“We are two very similar teams. But as long as we get balanced scoring and do the things we’ve been doing, along with getting great help from our bench, we will be all right. This (the Falcons) is a great team that is fun to watch,” said Holbrook.

While the opponent may have changed, the Falcons aren’t planning on changing what they have already been doing.

“Preparing for Coe will be the same as preparing for any other game. We will watch film on them and go over key things that they do, but when it really comes down to it we just have to play as a team and do things right,” added junior Nikki Guhr. Guhr is one of four Falcons to have started and played in all 27 games. She was also named to the WIAC’s All-Sportsmanship team.

This is UWRF’s fourth appearance in the NCAA Tourney and the first since the 1995 season.

The team also qualified for the tourney in 1987-88 and again in 1988-1989. In 1995, the team lost at UW-Whitewater, 72-71. In 1988 the Falcons lost to St. Norbert, 79-78. In 1989 the Falcons beat St. Norbert, 93-74, but lost a second round game to UWEau Claire, 83-73.

With this year’s squad that has already achieved so much, there is no telling how far the Falcons will soar.