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Women's Basketball on National Quest

If you’ve ever been outside of Cleveland, Ohio and worn an item of clothing that said Notre Dame college, you’ve probably run into someone, somewhere who yells out, “Go Irish!” mistaking our college in South Euclid for the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. Even if the shirt says “Falcons” or the colors are royal blue and gold, it never fails.

That could all be ready to change with the recent success of the Notre Dame College women’s basketball team on the national level.

The Falcons made the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Basketball National Poll when it was first released this season in December, 2005. They debuted at No. 37 after tallying a seven-game winning streak that spanned from November 20 through December 3, 2005.

Since then, the Falcons launched another winning streak, propelling the team even higher in the rankings. Notre Dame College moved as high as the 20th spot, which is no small feat considering there are 158 teams eligible for the ranking.

“It’s a wonderful honor for the College to have our peer group of national raters choose us as one of the top teams in the country,” said fifth-year head coach Dick Deasy. “The pressure of sustaining the ranking throughout the season was emotionally draining and made games more difficult for our team. Players were aware of the circumstances and had to learn how to handle the notoriety.”

Along the way to national recognition, the Falcons defeated each of its six opponents from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The team also won the American Mideast Conference North Division title giving them the opportunity to compete for the AMC Championship for the first time in program history.

Additionally, senior Kristi Wendolowski became the seventh player in Notre Dame College women’s history to be inducted into the 1,000 Point Club after scoring more than 1,000 points in her four-year career as a Falcon.

“Our team is very deserving of its national ranking,” said Wendolowski. “Our hard work, determination and team unity really paid off this season and I’m very proud of each and every one of my teammates and coaches.”

The women concluded the regular season with an overall record of 25-5and will be heading to the NAIA 15th Annual Women’s Basketball Championship in Sioux City, Iowa March 8-14.

Women’s basketball is the second nationally ranked sports team at Notre Dame College to compete at the national level; the first being the men's soccer team who competed in the fall of 2005.

With Notre Dame College’s success reaching across the nation this year, maybe next time you proudly display the blue and gold, someone will yell out, “Go Falcons!”

Kristy Booher is the Sports Information Director for Notre Dame College.