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Newman women's basketball set for TV appearance

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, at 7:03 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, at 7:04 p.m.

Saturday, the Newman women’s basketball team gets a chance to meet the country.

And the significance of the Jets’ game against Heartland Conference foe St. Edward’s — the first nationally-televised contest in school history — isn’t lost on anyone at the school.

“It’s a huge stage, a platform to show our school as a place where academics, athletics and civic engagement all blend into one,” said Newman president Dr. Noreen Carocci. “We feel like we’re the best little university nobody’s ever heard of.”

Newman, 11-7, and 2-1 in Heartland Conference play under first-year coach Jaime Green, tips off against St. Edward’s (8-10, 1-2) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS College Sports Network — Ch. 260 on Cox.

CBS has a contract to broadcast five men’s and five women’s NCAA Division II games each season.

“A lot of credit goes to Heartland commissioner Tony Stigliano,” Newman athletic director Vic Trilli said. “We had approached him about doing something to make Newman feel more a part of the conference and more a part of NCAA Division II. We also assured him we would be doing everything we could to be good hosts.”

Admission to the game is free and the first 1,500 fans get a free red T-shirt. There’s also a free pregame party at 10:30 a.m. in the Dugan Conference Center on campus, featuring free face-painting, free food, games and giveaways. The entire event is sponsored by Pizza Hut.

Friday, CBS trucks were setting up outside Fugate Gymnasium.

“A lot of the credit for this should go to Jaime, too,” Trilli said. “Her personality and her coaching style, the excitement she brings to the game is a big reason why this is happening.”

Green was disappointed with her team after an 84-79 loss to Texas Permian-Basin knocked the Jets out of first place on Thursday night, but was also ready for today’s unique opportunity.

“We understand it’s not about women’s basketball and not just about the people on this team,” Green said. “It’s about giving a window to the world about Newman. We have really welcomed the privilege and the responsibility of not only representing our school, but also our city.”

Check Tony Adame’s covers small-college blog at blogs.kansas.com/statecolleges. Reach him at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com.

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