UNH vs. Stony Brook University

Saturday at 12 p.m.; Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine

UNH is 25-4, 15-1 in America East; SBU is 12-17, 5-11 in AE

THE POSTSEASON BREAKDOWN

“Playoffs, we’re talking about playoffs?”

For the first time in program history, UNH will headline the America East conference tournament as the number one seed. The ‘Cats will go to work in their first round matchup Saturday, March 4 against Stony Brook.

The Wildcats are fresh off of a year that broke the record for most wins in a single season as they finished the year 25-4. The conference-leading ‘Cats also dominated the league all season as they ended the year with a 15-1 conference record.

As the calendar flips to March, madness is on the horizon. In both men’s and women’s college basketball, the most bizarre finishes, upsets and plays all seem to occur in the next couple weeks as every team tries to finish their season with a victory.

Although UNH has been the best team in the conference all season, and were able to defeat every team in  America East, now is not the time to relax.

Albany, a team that has started a rivalry with the ‘Cats in recent years, was able to knock off UNH on Feb. 6 by a score of 64-55. The Great Danes, as well as UMBC, the two and three seeds in the conference respectively, know they can beat the Wildcats if they play well.

Every game the ‘Cats play this postseason they have to expect their opponent’s best effort, as they are the team to beat in the America East. Luckily, the ‘Cats have had the experience of playing with a target on their backs which will make the postseason pressure easier to handle.

The Wildcats have high expectations but one thing remains the same, one loss and the historic season that they built up will be over. UNH needs to know that every game it plays should be treated like the finals, and to not overlook any teams.

The ‘Cats are in good hands as head coach Maureen Magarity has preached treating one game at a time over the past two seasons. UNH is also led by a strong junior class that will give the rest of the team confidence in the postseason.

Junior Carlie Pogue is in the running for America East player of the year and lately she’s been on a roll. Pogue will be the key for the Wildcats in the playoffs, as she has been all year. Kat Fogarty will also need to continue to impress as Pogue will be drawing a lot of attention down low.

The backcourt featuring Brittni Lai, Olivia Healy and Kristen Anderson will need to compliment the dominant frontcourt to continue to confuse defenses.

The road to the first conference championship in school history begins in Portland, Maine. The Wildcats will play at 12 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena, where they’ll start their journey.