SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The old guard meets the new tonight when Delta State faces Cal Poly Pomona in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament.
Under Coach Margaret Wade, one of the first women elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, Delta State won three consecutive AIAW national championships from 1975 to 1977 and helped take the women's game out of the back gym and onto national television.
But as the big state universities began concentrating on the game, the small independents such as Delta State faded from attention. Delta State dropped down to Division II this season but posted a 28-2 record for third-year Coach Lloyd Clark.
"It's an honor just to play a school with that kind of tradition," said Coach Darlene May, whose 28-3 Cal Poly Pomona squad has been ranked No. 1 all season and is the defending Division II champion.