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As only Massachusetts team in NCAA Tournament, Holy Cross Women's basketball is looking to shock the world

Holy Cross women's basketball team prepares to play Maryland in NCAA tournament
Holy Cross women's basketball team prepares to play Maryland in NCAA tournament 01:36

WORCESTER -- It's been a roller coaster week for the Holy Cross Women's basketball team. But they're getting ready to dance in the NCAA Tournament, and have a date with mighty Maryland on Friday in the opening round.

Holy Cross is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 after beating top-seeded Boston University, 66-61, in the Patriot League Championship game on Sunday. It was a game that they pulled out at BU after a 22-point lead in the third quarter dwindled down to just one with two minutes left.

"It was just stomach churning. We were up. We we're down. We were close. It was all over the place," said junior forward Jannelle Allen. "The crowd was cheering. The other crowd was cheering. It was an amazing atmosphere. That's what you want to play in."

"To see that the buzzer went off and we won, it was just overwhelming," said junior guard Bronagh Power-Cassidy. "Just kind of a sea of emotions just come over you. Like, 'Oh my gosh we did it. This is crazy!'"

Patriot League Championship At Case Gymnasium
Holy Cross players celebrate after defeating Boston University, 66-61, in the Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship. Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

"It was just an unreal feeling. Probably the best day of my life, honestly," said Allen. "I'm happy that I'm lucky enough to be with all of these young girls. I love them. They're my best friends."

"Just being in the game for as long as I have; I'm a coach's kid so to win the type of game that we did, I'm still on cloud nine," said head coach Maureen Magarity.

The Crusaders are now putting on their dancing shoes. They're a 15-seed and have a mighty uphill battle against the 2-seeded Terps in College Park on Friday. Maryland went 25-6 this season, and No 2 seeds are 128-0 in the tournament over the years. 

So this is the ultimate David vs. Goliath for Holy Cross. But they are not lacking in confidence heading into this battle.

"We are playing the best basketball of the season right now. Anything can happen," said sophomore forward Lindsay Berger. "We'd love the upset. A Cinderella story if you will."

"That's why you want to go to college and to be able to dance in March," said Magarity. "And we're here and we're gonna do it so hey, why not? We know it's gonna be a tough test and we have all the respect for Maryland, but why not?"

"We have nothing to lose," said Allen. "Might as well play as hard as we can. So that's exactly what we're gonna do, no matter the outcome. ...  "We can beat anybody."

"It's March and anything can happen in March," added Power-Cassidy. "So we're just gonna arrive there. We're just gonna play basketball. That's what we do every day. It's exciting."

The Crusaders are the only team -- Men's or Women's -- from Massachusetts to make this year's Big Dance.

"It's very cool. To be one of the only teams, it's something that we don't take very lightly and we're gonna go try and bring it back," said freshman guard Kaitlyn Flanagan.

They're leaving the Worcester Hills for Maryland, hoping to shock the world while having the time of their lives. That's a pretty good week.

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