MILWAUKEE — Marquette women's basketball team is getting ready to take on South Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Tip-off is at 10:30 a.m. Friday. If they win, they'll likely meet the number one overall seed, South Carolina, in the second round.
So what's it like being a part of the madness? Kareeda Chones Aguam knows all about the pressure and excitement.
Chones Aguam is the Senior Vice President for Partner Strategy and Management with the Milwaukee Bucks. But her basketball experiences go deeper than that.
Chones Aguam played for the Marquette Golden Eagles from '94-'98. She went to the NCAA tournament three out of her four years.
As this year's team begins its tournament run, she said the memories are all flooding back.
"That's what you go to school to play sports for, to have the opportunity to be the best in the country. One of 64 teams, it's amazing!" Chones Aguam said of the tournament experience. "Winning the conference tournament, or going deep into the conference, and then going to the big NCAA tournament was like, wow, this is what it's all about."
Beyond the Buzzer Beaters and Net Cutting, the connections and friendships she made stick out the most.
"One thing that I was really able to establish at Marquette was a network of really great players, great women. Even to this day we've become the best of friends, we're in each other's weddings," she said of the bonds created.
She and the women she played with helped establish a legacy of excellence in the program. The Marquette Women's Basketball team has made 14 NCAA tournament appearances.
Chones Aguam called it "bragging rights for the rest of your life."
This year's team isn't taking the opportunity lightly. Before taking heading to South Carolina on Wednesday, Junior Guard Rose Nkumu spoke with media.
"To have the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament again is huge. For our program especially, with just our standards and our winning and our excellence here, that's something we strive for every year," Nkumu said.
And Chones Aguam will be tuning in to cheer the Golden Eagles on every step of the way.
"Leave it all on the court. Enjoy every single moment. It really goes quickly, but leave it all on the court," Chones Aguam shared as advice for the team. "No matter what happens, we've got your back and we'll see ya next season."