Tuesday could turn out to be one of the biggest days in Wright State athletic history as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will play for Horizon League championships and NCAA tournament berths.
The WSU women will face top-seeded Green Bay at noon at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, while the men will take on a huge underdog in Cleveland State at 7 p.m.
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Katrina Merriweather’s third-seeded Raiders (23-9) upset No. 2 IUPUI 60-52 in the semifinals to reach the championship game for the third time in five years and fifth in school history. The Raiders won the tournament in 2014 and were runners-up in 2005, 2008 and 2015.
Green Bay, which is 28-3 and ranked No. 22 in the country, will be making its eighth consecutive trip to the HL championship game. They’ve won six of the last seven and 12 of 15.
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The Phoenix also have won 34 of their last 35 against the Raiders, with the lone loss coming in the 2014 final, and are 61-4 overall.
“The tougher team’s going to win,” WSU junior guard Mackenzie Taylor said. “I have faith in us and our toughness, and I have a lot of confidence in Katrina that she’s going to run the right stuff and whoever is scouting is going to put us through the right things so we’re ready to play.”
The WSU men are making their fourth trip the HL title game in six years.
The second-seeded Raiders (24-9) beat No. 6 Milwaukee 59-53 Monday night and will face eighth-seeded Cleveland State, which is 12-22 but owns a victory against Wright State this season.
“I’ll treat it just like we treat every other game in terms of how we prepare for it,” coach Scott Nagy said. “There’s a lot of other things going on in the world that are more important, even though this is super important to us and super important to Wright State. Just being able to bring things back into perspective for the players will hopefully help them relax.”
The women’s game will air on ESPNU, while the men will be on ESPN.