March 8, 2023
Locked On Women’s Basketball: The Saint Louis Billikens are marching on to the NCAA Tournament for the first time
First-year coach Rebecca Tillett and the Billikens won the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Happy International Women’s Day! This episode of the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast features Saint Louis coach Rebecca Tillett who helped the Billikens secure the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth by winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
What is she up to between championship Sunday and Selection Sunday? She joined host Natalie Heavren to discuss the team’s run in the tournament and the overtime victory against top-seeded Massachusetts. They also talk about what the win means to her and the program and what the team is doing to prepare for who and where they’ll play next.
Heavren was there in Wilmington, Del., covering the tournament for The Next. Her print story from the championship game is titled “Sights and sounds from Saint Louis’ first Atlantic 10 Tournament championship.”
The two dove right in, first discussing Tillett’s approach to practice as they await their next assignment.
“I think we’ll just, you know, get back to doing what we think got us this far,” Tillett said. “Actually, I had a player ask me that today. How was practice going to look different? Are we going to be pulling drills out from a couple months ago? I said, ‘No, we’ll be staying the course, with how we’ve been preparing right now.’ You know, they’re always concerned, are they going to bring out one of those tough rebounding drills again?”
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Then, Heavren pointed to a conversation she had with Tillett at the beginning of the season about her aspirations to win a tournament championship in her first few seasons with the Billikens.
“That’s why this storyline is so good, because, you know, there were difficult times there was adversity in front of us,” Tillett said. “But true to the quote, this group, literally did keep putting their head down and working over and over again. And I think that was so critical to how we were able to climb. I think one of the stories I told recently is, I didn’t know we were 6-16.”
She continued to say, “I didn’t put that as a marker in my mind. I think because we just kept saying, ‘Well, we have to keep getting better. That’s just the only option.’ And then you could start to feel the momentum build with this group and their chemistry and the leadership, I mean, leaders have such an influence on how far a group can go. And this particular group of leaders, they have a unique style, in terms of they’re very positive. And they’re persistent, really, really persistent. And it takes them a long time to get frustrated. And I think all of those things have allowed them to lead in this space.”
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For more coverage of the NCAAW, click here.