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PC set for First Four, will face Sacred Heart

The PC women’s basketball team reacts after learning that they will face Sacred Heart Wednesday in Columbia in the First Four of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

It didn’t take long for the Presbyterian College women’s basketball team to learn its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday night.

PC will play Wednesday at Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena in the First Four against Northeastern Conference champion Sacred Heart (24-9). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

The winner of that game will face overall No. 1 seed South Carolina in the opening round Friday at 2 p.m..

The selection was announced moments after the Gamecocks (31-0) were introduced first as the tournament’s top seed during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show broadcast on ESPN. The Blue Hose heard their name called at a watch party along with fans, other PC students and supporters at Templeton Center.

PC (20-14) made the NCAA tournament for the first time in the history of PC’s Division I basketball program after winning the Big South Conference Tournament title as the No 5 seed. The Blue Hose defeated No. 4 Charleston Southern, No. 1 High Point and No. 2. Radford en route to the championship.

“I’ve been talking to them about two different types of emotions,” said PC head coach Alaura Sharp. “I’ve talked to them about enjoying it, soaking it all in being really proud of what we’ve accomplished, But on the other hand, being ready to go compete and compete at the highest level. This is what we worked our whole season for. This is what they came here to do. And, honestly, there’s still history to be made, and so I don’t think we should be satisfied. I don’t think they are as far as what we’ve already accomplished.”

Sacred Heart, located in Fairfield, Connecticut, defeated No. 2-seeded Le Moyne 69-48 in the Northeast Conference Tournament championship game  to win a second straight conference title. The Pioneers are led by sophomore guard Ny’Ceara Pryor’s 18.9 points per game. Pryor set a new single-season scoring record for Sacred Heart with 624 points this season. Guard Amelia Wood, a 6-foot sophomore, is the team’s second leading scorer at 10.6 points per game.

PC’s Sonia Sato high fives Blue Hose mascot Scotty as Sato is introduced during Sunday night’s Selection Show watch party at Templeton Center.

Sharp said she and her staff had anticipated a berth in the First Four, but rumors swirling Sunday had PC facing Tennessee-Martin or possibly Holy Cross. Those two teams will face one another Thursday at Iowa City.

“We highly anticipated that, and I love it because you have such a like opponent to kind of get your feet underneath you,” she said. “You get a good matchup before you go in and play the number one overall seed on their home floor.”

Sharp and her staff began preparing for Sacred Heart Sunday night and were expecting to work late into the night Sunday on scouting reports and a gameplan for the Pioneers, who were largely an unknown to PC when the brackets were announced just after 8 p.m. Sunday.

“I’m sure they probably haven’t looked at us either because they probably were looking at whatever the bracketology said as well,” Sharp said. “We’ll be prepared. We’re capable. I’ve got great basketball minds on our staff, and we’ll be really prepared going into the game, and so will our team.”

PC Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Photo Gallery

Photos by John Clayton

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