It has been seven seasons since the Ottawa University women’s basketball team has made any noise in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
Ottawa played in four straight KCAC tourney title games, the last being in 2007.
Seventh-year coach Bruce Tate feels this is the team to break through and possibly be like those teams in the mid-2000s.
“I felt we are a tournament program,” Tate said. “Wilson Field House has been empty for the playoffs for a long time. It is the best atmosphere to play in in playoff time. We are glad it is at home.”
Ottawa wrapped up the fourth seed Saturday with a 77-69 victory over Saint Mary in Ottawa.
The Lady Braves (15-13) play 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against No. 5 Kansas Wesleyan in the first round of the KCAC Tournament.
“Our main goal was to be in the top four,” Tate said. “That will put you in position to win a championship. It is not strange territory. KW will be a really tough test. On paper, they are one of the best teams in the conference.
“This is a perfect spot to be in. You can face that No. 1 seed that already has the ticket punched. You get them on their heels again. We have not had the experience to finish games.”
Ottawa and Kansas Wesleyan split games during the regular season. Each team won on its home floor.
Tate said the players did the postgame evaluation of the loss in Salina.
“They knew we were not mentally ready to play that game,” Tate said. “Our game plan was good. We did not execute it.
“They will guard us differently. Defense will be intense. We have to execute down the stretch and score some points. We like to keep the game in the 50s and 60s.
“They made a huge run last year in the tournament and made it to the championship game. Same group back, so they are capable of doing that.
“I like our chances too. We are a good defensive team. Those are the teams that succeed in tournaments. It is going to be much more intense. We have to go make plays.”
Saint Mary (66) — Palmer 8, Marusak 14, Ezeh 16, Harmon 2, Stallbaumer 8, Zaldivar 3, Brown 9, VanNess 3, Frantz 3.
Ottawa (77) — Christman 7, Ramsey 12, McClure 6, Frazier 4, Boore 2, Skidmore 11, Strader 2, Tucker 1, Romig 19, Boden 2, Thomas 2, Stewart 9.