MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – It had been 22 months since the State of Chicago could celebrate a victory until Monday night.
The Cougars defeated Wisconsin 71-63 in overtime to win for the first time since Jan. 18, 2020. Chicago State lost 27 straight games before dominating the Big Ten School for the first time in eight tries.
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“It means everything,” said Chicago State coach Tiffany Sardin, who won her first school victory. “We scratched and scratched. These young women have shown a real testament to never give up. It’s all in the work. We leave the process to what I believe in and what our women are capable of doing. “
After the sound of the final bell, the team celebrated as if they had just won a championship.
“I wanted them to celebrate,” Sardin said. “I wanted them to benefit from this experience. They poured water all over me and you thought we had won a title.
Sardin resumed the program on May 15, 2020 and lost all 14 games of his rookie season. The Cougars lost the last nine games the previous year en route to a 1-27 record. His team lost their first four games this season before Monday’s victory.
Coach Sardin said his phone hasn’t stopped vibrating since the victory.
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“I get texts and calls from great people in my life and from those I haven’t spoken to in a long time,” she said. “I got emails and one today was really special. Kathi, the sister of Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who recruited me out of high school.
Sardin returned to her hometown of Chicago after spending three years as an assistant at Longwood. His new team have lost their first four games this season. She grew up about 15 minutes from the Chicago State Campus.
“I learned a lot about myself on my first opportunity to be a head coach,” she said. “Taking over a program like Chicago State, which was in my backyard, means so much to me. Showing that you can be successful at home and that it can be done in the state of Chicago is huge. “
One of his star rookies, rookie Aaliyah Collins, had 25 points in the victory. The victory was the first against a Big Ten team since Chicago State dominated Northwestern on November 14, 2008.
“Aaliyah Collins is a phenomenal young woman who we brought from Seattle this season,” said the coach. “She turned out to be available. We couldn’t go out and recruit in person so it was all filmed, I watched a lot of movies and trusted some resources that I had. She trained for us. She is a wonderful and hard-working young woman with whom we want to build, continue to develop her.
The Cougars are heading to Florida for a Thanksgiving tournament this weekend. It will be a much better trip with the losing streak over.
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