Treka McMillian has been the women's basketball coach at Minneapolis Community and Technical College for five years. On March 13, her Mauraders won MCTC's first national championship in any sport, roaring back from 16 points down to defeat previously top-ranked College of DuPage (Ill.) 79-77 in overtime to claim the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III title.
That game epitomized the season, as McMillian's squad started off 2-4 before beginning a 15-game winning streak that culminated in the championship.
The triumphant coach sat down with Skyway News after the team had returned home to a week's worth of fanfare on the MCTC campus, 1501 Hennepin Ave. S.
What were you telling the team when you were down 16 in the second half of the title game?
I called time out and I said, 'you guys gotta do this. It's on you now.' I had two sophomores who played on the team last year get up and say 'We're not going to lose this game!' So they got back out there and they just made up their minds that they were going to turn it around. Then, we got five straight steals and went on the run and managed to get back in the game.
At the beginning of the season, did you think winning a national title was a realistic goal?
I knew that the pieces we had were good enough. But if the pieces didn't come together, we weren't going to solve the puzzle. I always knew we had the athletes to do it, though.
Has it all sunk in yet?
Not really, I think when I get some days to rest and recuperate it will kind of hit me.
What do you do for an encore?
I don't know. There's six or seven of my players leaving, so it's not going to be the same team next year. But we want to get back. Obviously, since we won the title,
we want to go back and repeat.
I think that would be fun.