Date Posted:02/28/2002,  8:00AM

Women's Basketball Preps For NCAA Opener

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin College has learned its second-round opponent for the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Polar Bears (24-1) will face Emmanuel (27-2), who defeated Southern Maine on Wednesday night in the first-round, 63-51. Bowdoin reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament last year, while Emmanuel reached the Final Four. The two teams will clash at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Morrell Gymnasium.

"I'm not surprised we're playing Emmanuel," says Coach Pemper. "I knew their style of play was far different from Southern Maine's in that they're more athletic, more versatile offensively, and they press quite a bit. I think our game Saturday will be a great matchup, and a good one for the fans. We were five points away from playing them in the Elite Eight last year, and over the years they've been a dominant New England team that we've never faced. Their ability to press and try to take us out of our offensive comfort zone will be key. We haven't seen a lot of full court pressure all year so Emmanuel will present a new challenge."

The two squads have faced two common opponents this season. Bowdoin defeated Colby twice (62-48 in Brunswick; 74-60 in Waterville). Emmanuel defeated Colby at home 80-66 on December 1. One of Emmanuel's two losses this season came at the hands of another NCAA Tournament team, Salem State, 71-69 in Salem on January 29. The Polar Bears defeated Salem 66-47 just over a week later in Brunswick, on February 7.

"I'm excited for our players," says Pemper. "The NCAA tournament is like a whole new season, and if you don't go in with the belief that you can keep advancing you're selling yourself short and missing the beauty of the tournament. We know we can compete for a championship, and mentally we have to understand that new challenges are an integral part of that process."