Portland State, Gonzaga and Oregon. Idaho, OSU and Portland State. Even Stanford. All of these are Division 1 schools in the NCAA. But who has played these teams? Sure, plenty of other D1 schools, but also NCCAA Corban University. In the last five years, Corban has played all of these teams. Why do these women put themselves up against these teams?

“We know that D1 opponents are at another level,” said Coach Rosey Ball, “and if we can go out and play with them, we are in good shape when we get to conference.”

Before they start playing games that count in their divisions, NCAA schools look for exhibition opponents to play in early November. Corban takes advantage of that fact and begins making calls to play in those exhibition games. Winning three league championships in the past and their current success have helped them obtain these opportunities.

Megan Benedict looks to pass at the Stanford game.
Photo by Richard C. Ersted/Stanford Photo

“It can be a little intimidating,” said sophomore center Tara VanWeerdhuizen. “We’re going out there to have fun, so there is really no pressure.”

While Corban has yet to win a game against their D1 counterparts, they’ve been close, losing to Idaho by three points. “We approach our exhibition games with the intention of playing well enough to put ourselves in an opportunity to to win,” said Ball.

“When it comes down to it, no Division 1 game matters,” said senior Emily Tsugawa. “It gives us confidence knowing that we can be successful in different areas against Division 1 schools. It’s cool to say that we have played here or there, and did this and that against some of the top teams in the nation.”

The team plays the regular starters and uses the same subbing rotation as in a regular season game. The pre-season and exhibition schedule set them up to be successful once conference starts.

“We don’t always win the games, but our players are constantly getting better, and that’s why we do it,” said Ball.

What’s to come? Well, in the next two years, look forward to hearing how the Lady Warriors have held up against teams from Baylor University and University of Connecticut.

“It’s cool to say that we have played here or there, and did this and that against some of the top teams in the nation,” said Tsugawa.