Women’s Basketball Set to Host Quarterfinal Matchup in Northeast-10 Conference Tournament for First Time
Women’s Basketball Set to Host Quarterfinal Matchup in Northeast-10 Conference Tournament for First Time

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

It was a Friday morning early in the season, and the UNH women’s basketball team was preparing for a weekend Northeast-10 matchup with Pace University. Leading the scouting session prior to practice was first-year head coach Ty Grace ’99.

She was detailing the tendencies of one of the opponent’s leading scorers and outlining the pressure defense the Chargers might face.

“Attack the basket under control, make yourself available and be in the right position,” she told the team. “There’s not a press that we can’t break.”

First-year head coach Ty Grace will lead the women's basketball team into the program's first home game in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament when the Chargers take the floor on Sunday, March 2.

A day later, the Chargers posted a convincing 26-point win, adding to the program’s best start in 15 years. Now, more than three months later, Grace has built on that record start, leading the team to a 17-8 record and putting the Chargers within striking distance of its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007.

For the first time in six seasons as a member of the Northeast-10 conference, the Chargers will host a quarterfinal matchup in the conference tournament. The game will take place on Sunday, March 2, at Charger Gymnasium. Stay tuned to NewHavenChargers.com to find out the time and opponent once they are determined.

Grace, a member of UNH’s Athletics Hall of Fame, joined the Chargers last summer after four years as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Seton Hall University, a Division I school and a member of the Big East Conference.

Coming back to UNH, where she starred as a player, becoming one of only two Chargers to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for her career, was a no-brainer.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to come back to a place where I played and graduated from,” said Grace, who also has a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. “It was the perfect situation.”

Grace says her expectations are straightforward. “I talk about not having to coach attitude and effort,” said Grace. “I believe those are two characteristics that you need to be successful. My philosophy is to work hard every day, and hopefully the results will come.”

So far, they have. With a win last week on Senior Day, the Chargers earned the No. 2 seed in the NE-10 Southwest Division. The team has reeled off two separate four-game winning streaks and has won five of its last seven games.

Grace, who started playing basketball in the ninth grade, said her love of competition is what attracted her to the sport. Part of her responsibility as a coach, she says, is to instill a work ethic in her players that will carry well beyond their time at UNH.

“We are always going to work hard, and we are never going to settle for mediocrity,” she said. “If we want to be the best, we have to practice like the best, and we have to perform like the best. Our goal is to take this program to the next level.

“I just want to give them the best experience possible,” continued Grace. “I had a great experience here, and I want them to have an even better one, winning, hopefully, a conference championship and being part of a winning tradition.”

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