No more moral victories for UE women

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 11.41.03 AMTwo months ago, a UE women’s basketball loss to a league’s first-place team, such as the Aces’ 49-45 defeat last Sunday against Wichita State, could have been portrayed as a good thing.

That’s not so anymore.

Simply playing a top-100 ratings percentage index opponent close isn’t enough, because coach Oties Epps said there are “no more moral victories for us. We’re definitely beyond those.”

UE lost to teams with superior length, size and athleticism during its non-conference slate — including three Big 10 Conference opponents and mid-major powerhouse Toledo. Now in Missouri Valley Conference play, where the Aces are 5-2, goals to win the MVC and play in a postseason tournament are still viable.

That’s only if Epps’ squad keeps winning.

Rated 158th in the RPI, UE’s at-large NCAA tournament hopes aredashed. But the WNIT takes 64 teams — one automatic bid from each conference and 33 at-large selections — and there’s a 16-team Women’s Basketball Invitational played at campus sites.

Teams are typically invited to postseason tournaments only if they have a winning record. The Aces, who finished non-conference play on an eight-game losing streak, are still four games under .500 with 11 games remaining in the regular season.

UE’s next test comes on the road at 6 p.m. Thursday against Bradley.

“For us to get to where we want to go, we definitely control our destiny,” Epps said. “That’s the great thing about it is, we don’t need anybody else to do anything for us. We just need to take care of our business.

“That’s what we’ve talked about this week. Great teams bounce back. We can’t let Wichita beat us twice, and what I mean by that is being so down that you didn’t win that game – some things happened in that game – and letting those emotions carry over into preparation for Bradley.”

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