I was due for a Lady Gaels posting and it's a very nice way for it to happen too. The Lady Gaels, coached by my friend Tony Bozzella, did something a MAAC team, outside of Marist, rarely does. They beat a Big East team. But not only did Iona beat West Virginia 54-42, they did so by beating the Mountaineers on their home court.
Now, granted the Mountaineers, who made the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, graduated seven seniors and eleven players overall did not return from last season's team. However, West Virginia had a top recruiting class come in with JUCO all americans and other top freshmen. Also, the Mountaineers stormed out to a 15-4 lead. The Lady Gaels came back with an 18-7 run. The Lady Gaels jumped ahead early in the second half and never trailed again, finishing the game on a 22-8 run. They were led by freshman Kristina Ford who had 20 points and 7 rebounds. Anda Ivkovic added 13 points as the Lady Gaels held the Mountaineers to 28 percent shooting from the field.
The Lady Gaels are now 2-0 on the season having defeated Hofstra 61-57 at home last Friday evening. Thazina Cook had 20 points and Ford chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds as Iona avenged a loss from last season's opening game against the Pride.
Iona was picked sixth again in the MAAC in this season preseason poll. Last season Iona was also picked sixth in the preseason but finished second to Marist and went to the tournament finals before losing to Marist. This season's prediction is probably based mainly on the loss of three players, two to graduation and one, Anna McClean due to medical reasons. Had McClain, a dominant force inside, returned, the Lady Gaels would be ranked much higher. However, with this 2-0 start, it seems the MAAC prognosticators may have got it wrong again.
The Lady Gaels continue their four game road trip with a game at Monmouth Wednesday before a big game Sunday at Wichita State. The road trip concludes with a game Thanksgiving Eve at St. Francis. The Lady Gaels then hold their Thanksgiving Tournament November 29-30, which I hope to be attending at least one of the games.