By Joseph Sykes | Sports Editor
The majority of athletes and coaches seem to believe the sole thing that matters about a game is the game. There’s no use in obsessing over matters off the court, ice, turf, etc. However, when a club is constantly setting the bar higher and higher each game, they deserve some form of reward. The women’s basketball team, who is on a 15-game winning streak this season, has yet to see any recognition for their phenomenal accomplishments.
Head coach Dan Burt told the media after his team’s 55-40 win over Fordham last Sunday that this is not acceptable. He tore off the stereotypical coach façade and expressed his true feelings about not being ranked in the Associated Press’ Top 25 Poll.
“Coach-speak is ‘no, we don’t look at rankings’,” Burt said. “Absolutely we look at rankings, and we’re disappointed we’re not ranked by the AP. How many teams are 15-1 at this point? There’s not very many of them, and if you look at the [Rating Percentage Index] and where we’re at, I think we should be ranked.”
Burt should be content, at least, with the recent news that his team received 17 votes from the AP after its win Sunday. There are only four teams now with more votes than the Red & Blue – West Virginia (18), Purdue (47), DePaul (50) and Northwestern (58).
However, with the continued success the Dukes are having this season, it’s important for them not to get too comfortable. Junior forward Amadea Szamosi believes her team has a target on its back, and to fight it, it must stay alert at all times.
“When you’re so successful, as we’ve been this year so far, you’re going to have a target on your back,” Szamosi said. “So you have to be alert every single game and more than you would be normally because everyone is going to try to bring their best game against you.”
Freshman guard Chassidy Omogrosso agrees with her fellow starter, but believes that target can be spun into something a little more positive.
“It gives us more motivation, with a target on our back, but you still have to stay humble,” Omogrosso said. “You can’t let that get in your head or affect your game. You just have to keep working hard and play your same game.”
Even Burt is familiar with the target. He knows for a fact that each team the Dukes face will be eyeing a huge win over a club that’s on the outskirts of national recognition. This knowledge sparked a warning for the Dukes that being on top means others crave the opportunity to take you down.
“To me, when you have the target on your back, that’s something that’s always shifting and changing, and you have to figure out what you are going to do on a daily basis,” Burt said. “And at 15-1 and 3-0 in the league, it is clearly on our back.”
The Red & Blue earned a spot on USA Today’s Top 25 Poll after their 79-70 win over Rhode Island Wednesday night. This is a major accomplishment for the women, but as many know, the AP runs the polls. The win over the Rams may finally secure a spot in the national recognition, but it’s not set in stone until next week when the official rankings are announced.