Notre Dame's second-round NCAA women's tournament opponent Vermont has certainly reaped the rewards of our neighbors to the north.
The 10th-seeded Catamounts (27-6), who tip off against the second-seeded Irish (28-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Purcell Pavilion, have had 23 players from Canada in their history, and they have six Canadians on this year's team.
And after winning their first NCAA game in six tries Sunday with a 64-55 victory over seventh-seeded Wisconsin, two of Vermont's Canadian stars – guards May Kotsopoulos and Courtnay Pilypaitis – talked about what the victory meant during Monday's news conference.
"This shows girls back home in Canada who are aspiring to be in our position in the future that it is possible," said Kotsopoulos, who is from Waterloo, Ontario, and averages a team-high 17.2 points per game. "When we were growing up, it wasn't so ordinary that girls went to the United States on scholarship. Now over the years, it is becoming more popular and regular for girls to do this."
"It was a big deal for us to get a scholarship to the States," said Pilypaitis, who is from Ottawa, Ontario, and is second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.2 points. "Now you are seeing more and more Canadians going across the border and getting a scholarship. That just helps continue to see that you can be successful."
While the university is excited for the first NCAA win, Kotsopoulos said the importance doesn't completely translate in Canada.
"Some of my friends don't really understand it as much as others," Kotsopoulos said. "But they know it is some kind of a big deal, so they are very excited for us."