SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Western New England College women’s basketball coach Nicki Chaszar loves March Madness, especially the NCAA Division I Championship.
She’ll be watching Tuesday night (March 23) when her alma mater Temple (25-8) meets top-ranked UConn (34-0) in a second round match-up in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Owls defeated James Madison 65-53 to advance against the undefeated and defending national champion Huskies who enter the game with a NCAA record for women 73-game winning streak.
Chaszar was a shooting guard at Temple from 1996-2000 playing for Kristen Foley who is now the school’s associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator.
“It’s exciting to see how much the program has improved over the years, first with Dawn Staley and now Tonya Cardoza,” said Chaszar who has an 81-53 record (65.3%) in five seasons directing the Division III Golden Bears.
Chaszar has never met Cardoza, but has been impressed with her record (46-18 in two years) since she arrived on the Philadelphia campus two years ago.
Cardoza, who played at Virginia, was an assistant at UConn for 14 years under Geno Auriemma who will serve as the USA Olympic coach in 2012. This is the seventh straight year Temple has participated in the NCAA Championship.
“I think it’s great to see Tonya continue to move the women’s basketball program forward,” stated Chaszar. “Temple received an at-large invitational to the tournament and it shows a great deal of respect for the Atlantic-10 Conference and Temple’s strength of schedule.”
Chaszar, from Brackney, Pennsylvania, was a four-time Atlantic-10 Academic selection, two-year captain, and team MVP her senior season.
“I love the school and will always root for my former team,” she proudly remarked.