“United We Roar” is the hashtag associated with University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee athletics this season. The Women’s basketball team has shown it has some definite bite to back up their roar…
Head Coach Kyle Rechlicz now fully ensconced in her fourth year, is on the verge of taking the Women’s program to a place they haven’t been in a decade…to a post season tournament (other than the Horizon League). The last UWM Women’s team to see that kind of success was the 2005-06 team led by then Head Coach Sandy Botham, the Panthers lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that year to Michigan State 65-46.
Coach Rechlicz is no stranger to the post season. When she was a 3 point threat for the Badgers from 1998-2002, and was known as Kyle Black, two of the teams that she co-captained went to the Big Dance (2000-01, and 2001-02) and two went to the WNIT. The road she took to get to the “Cream City” included stops at Cleveland State, Dayton, and her Alma Mater UW-Madison. At all three stops she was either an associate or assistant coach, but, always served as a recruiting coordinator. Rechlicz has tasted post season success as a coach at Dayton where in all four of her seasons the Flyers made appearances in either the NCAA or WNIT.
Not only does Rechlicz know what it takes to WIN (she’s been there), it’s also quite evident that she knows how to recruit talent. This Panther team, which is seeing the most success under Rechlicz is made up of all of her recruits except one, Sydney Howard. Their record is currently 13-10 overall, 7-5 in conference and they have a legitimate chance of sneaking into post season action. The Panther Women have been strong against everyone of their opponents in their conference, which means they have a superb shot at pulling an upset and winning the League Tournament at the end of the season at Green Bay (this year’s host). If they pull that off it would mean an AUTOMATIC BID to the BIG DANCE!
As long as they keep winning, there’s a chance they could jockey up to the #2 spot in the final Horizon League standings, and that would mean an AUTOMATIC BID into the WNIT!
So basically, Coach Rechlicz has to keep her team focused, and keep on winning, because either tournament would be huge for the Women’s basketball program at UWM.
I’ve been producing UWM Women’s games on the Big 920 now for 5 years, and I must say this season the Panthers have been IN just about every game, and are showing resiliency and a winning attitude…. honestly, it’s like with the Packers in 2010, you just felt like no matter what … they were going to pull out a win!
Good Luck and GO PANTHERS…let’s hear that ROAR!
(photos courtesy of: jsonline, mkepanthers, panther media guide)