The area's winningest college basketball team has only one regular taller than 5-feet-10, a part-time coach and a star player who did not what to attend college.
The Bowie State women's team has overcome all of that and 25 to 29 opponents to earn a berth in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletica for Women's small college East Regional starting Friday in Johnstown, Pa.
That success has not exactly bowled over Coach Arlene Creek, a nine-year veteran at the position who remains calmly confident of her team.
"It was in the plans to continue postseason play after the Maryland state playoffs," said Creek. "I was confident if the kids did what I wanted, we'd go."
The Lady Bulldogs notched easy victories over Immaculata and La Salle last weekend in a satellite tournament in Millersville, Pa., to gain a date with Morgan State on Friday. Bowie already has beaten Morgan this season, triumphing by two points in one of the school's few close games. The losses were to Catholic and Mount St. Mary's. Each beat Bowie twice.
"Their (Bowie State) strength is in their offense," said La Salle Coach Linda Lastowka, whose team was a 19-point victim in Millersville. "If their opponent plays a man-to-man defense, they isolate players and go one-on-one. They're good playground ballplayers. Plus, they shoot very well from outside. We played them both zone and man and it didn't seem to matter to them."
On transition, the Lady Bulldogs are more like greyhounds. "No. 11 (Barbara Jones) releases as soon as the other team shotts," said Lastowka. "They have a couple of kids that can throw the ball the length of the court. We ended up using only four players on offense, keeping one back there with No. 11."
Usually initiating those full-court bombs to Jones is sophomore Annette Rolle, 5-10 power forward who is the squad's leading scorer (18.6) and rebounder (13.5).
Rolle almost didn't make the trip down Rte. 450 from hometown Annapolis.
"I don't know why she didn't enroll until midsemester of last year," said Creek. "She apparently had something personal to get resolved before coming here. I tried to get her at the beginning of the year, but couldn't. Then one day she showed up.
"When she got here, she played the last nine games and averaged 23 points per game. Our opponents hadn't ever seen Annette. This year they know what she can do and try and double-team her.
"But Annette can score from anywhere, inside or out. It depends on how she feels. She hasn't been stopped."
One of Rolle's better games came against Georgetown in the Catholic University Invitational, a stellar 29-point, 29-rebound effort.
Jones, 5-6 freshman All-Met (Bladensburg High) selection, contributes 18.4 poins per game and shoots better than 50 percent.
The playmaker is sophomore Bernadette Vann (4.2 assists), an Annapolis High teammate of Rolle. Vann was told to shoot earlier this season to take the defensive pressure off Rolle and Jones. She reponded with several double-figure efforts, including 26 points against American and 20 against Catholic.
Tina Boynton, who demonstrated the Lady Bulldog offensive versatility with 31 points against Loyola of Baltimore, is No. 2 in BSC's three-guard alignment. Ceci Hatcher, 6-2, mans the pivot and 5-8 Bonnie Washington comes in to rest one of the guards.
Creek, even when pressed, was unable to single out a Lady Bulldog weakness.
"We're doing pretty well right now," said Creek, who also works in the Prince George's County school system. "Maybe I haven't found a weakness because we've been winning by such big margins."
Lady Bulldog fans hope Creek does not have to look anytime soon.