Because of the pandemic, we still haven’t gotten as complete a sense as fans might like of Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson, but this speaks well of her: Duke is playing at Toledo this year, and they’re doing it because Lawson wanted to and helped make it happen.
A MAC school might not sound like a big deal, but former Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is a huge fan of Toledo because, basically, it’s a pit.
As for Lawson, she thinks games like that will only help:
“I just like playing in good environments. For a long time now, Toledo has had one of the best home environments in women’s college basketball. The goal for me — and I can’t speak to how other coaches do it — is to expose our players to as many different difficult environments as we can. ... We’ll play anybody. We won’t shy away from anybody, and going to Toledo and Florida Gulf Coast [this season], they’re two of the top programs — not just mid-majors — in the country.
“It’s really hard to win in those venues. ... I want to have a team by the end of the year that can win in any type of environment. This isn’t a novel concept, but to be really good at something, you need reps at it.”
That’s really great to hear, isn’t it?