The Howard University women’s basketball program continues to make great strides under the leadership of head coach Niki Reid Geckeler as they prepare for the 2012 Women’s National Invitational Tournament against the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia on Thursday, March 15 at 7 pm in the John Paul Arena in Charlottesville, VA.

Geckeler came in with a formula for success and unquestionably, it is working.  It all started three years ago when she brought in the current starting lineup, which consists of five juniors.

As freshmen, the group grew as the season progressed and made it to the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament before they lost to South Carolina State.

The group matured and showed marked improvement last season, advancing to the championship final before losing to eventual champion, Hampton University.

This season, the group took yet another quantum leap, achieving numerous milestones along the way.

The team, which tied the school record for wins in a season at 24, played perhaps the most challenging schedule in the storied history of the program.  The Lady Bison began the season in the Preseason WNIT and faced Number 1 ranked Baylor.  The Lady Bears won by a lopsided margin, but it proved to be beneficial to the Howard team as the season would progress.

The Lady Bison went on to play St. John’s from the Big East and Ohio State from the Big 10, both of whom were ranked in the preseason poll.  Howard would go on play five teams which are playing in the NCAA tournament.

Despite the losses, the exposure to that level of competition helped when Howard later went on to post road victories over Wake Forest of the ACC and Seton Hall from the Big East.  The Lady Bison were able to parlay those wins into both a nine-game, and a 11-game win streak.

Much of the success had to do with the team’s defense, which is ranked among the tops in the nation in scoring defense and in three-point shooting defense.  Moreover, the Lady Bison have been able to take care of the ball, averaging only 13 turnovers per game to rank in the Top 10 in the country in that statistical category.

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