CORVALLIS, Ore. – St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley has been around long enough to know the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament doesn’t come around often. The Bonnies’ at-large bid this year marked only the second time in history they reached the Big Dance.
“They should be able to enjoy the perks that come with reaching this point,” Crowley said.
The Bonnies, intent on relishing the experience, made it clear March Madness wasn’t Spring Break. Lancaster native Katie Healy, a high school senior when the Bona reached the Sweet 16 four years ago, suggested her team struck the right balance before playing Oklahoma State.
Their priorities, in order:
1) Compete against Oklahoma State when the game begins at 7:30 p.m. on the Oregon State campus.
2) Have fun.
“It’s a business trip for us,” Healy said. “We want to enjoy Oregon. A lot of us have not been here before. Enjoy the trips, especially for the seniors. This is our last time doing this. At the same time, we know what we have to do to get another game. We have to really lock in and really play hard. Basketball is our primary focus.”
Unlike her previous games, Healy is faced with the reality that her next game could be her last for St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies senior, who led the team in scoring and rebounding, knew she would play another game when Bona lost to VCU in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
At the time, the Bonnies figured they were headed to the National Invitation Tournament. Two weeks later, they were in the NCAAs.
“It’s an honor to be able to get this opportunity,” Healy said. “We’re really appreciative that we’ve been able to get to this position. We’re going to take full advantage of it.”