The Rhode Island College Anchorwomen Women’s Basketball Team are on a historic run, as they have advanced further than ever in the NCAA D-III National Tournament. The school held a pep rally Wednesday to celebrate this accomplishment, as well as support the women as they prepare to play #1 Christopher Newport in the Final Four.
The Anchorwomen opened the tournament defeating Rowan College by a final score of 67-59. RIC faced a tough test after Rowan with #3 Scranton College, but the Anchorwomen upset the Royals 62-55. The Anchorwomen moved onto the Sweet Sixteen, where they faced and beat #10 Chicago by a final of 64-56.
RIC then advanced to the Elite Eight with the win and faced #13 Babson. The Anchorwomen avenged a prior defeat on the season and disposed of the Beavers 60-47. The Anchorwomen now face a tough test in the Final Four, as they take on #1 Christopher Newport.
The pep rally drew much support from Rhode Island College’s campus community, with supporters from all over the region piling into Donovan Dining Center to support the Anchorwomen’s success.
The pep rally saw Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, who is a proud RIC alumna, Athletic Director Don Tencher and RIC President Dr. Jack Warner speak. All three expressed their support for the team, the importance of the achievement and their excitement for RIC’s upcoming matchup against Christopher Newport.
Head Coach Jenna Cosgrove spoke on how proud she was of the team, as well as the importance of RIC’s campus community to make the team as successful as they are. President Warner ended the Pep Rally declaring, “We are all in behind you. So, all the best. Knock’em dead.”
The players and coaches took time after the pep rally to discuss the significance of this moment, as well as their feelings that have surrounded this historic event.
“Super exciting, super fun to do it with this group,” Sophomore Guard Madison Medbury told The Anchor. “We have really stuck together and had fun with it. We are embracing every moment together.”
Cosrgove shared a similar sentiment, saying, “It’s an unbelievable feeling. The kids deserve this. They put their heart and soul into everything and they have outplayed teams with their heart, resilience, and hard work. We are playing as a really high-level team.”
The Anchorwomen are what some would call a Cinderella story. An unranked team making a deep run into the NCAA Tournament, defeating many ranked teams. Assistant Coach Derek Shanks credits that underdog mentality for some of the success.
“It’s pretty cliche, but that underdog mentality. That chip on their shoulders has helped us get to where we are right now,” Shanks said.
Sophomore Forward Angelina Nardolillo believes that their last loss was the catalyst for this run, saying, “Losing in the regular season to Eastern [Connecticut State]. A loss is really a lesson and we took it really hard. Ever since then, everything has really clicked together and we haven’t lost since.”
Senior Forward Izabelle Booth pointed to the team staying true to its identity in helping them throughout this run.
“Sticking true to our identity,” Booth said. “Rebounding and defense, that’s what we emphasize and we do. By focusing on that, getting the mistakes out and perfecting that craft. It’s carried us the whole way.”
Warner will not be able to make the game, but offered his support for the Anchorwomen, telling The Anchor, “100%. I’ll be there spirit. I’ll do anything I can to support those young women. They are just a fine group.”
The Anchorwomen take on Christopher Newport on Saturday, March 18 in Hartford, Connecticut.
There will also be a watch party organized by Dining Services and Residential Life for the game. This watch party will begin at 5 p.m. and is set to be located in Donovan Dining Center. Food and refreshments will be served.