JMU women arrive in Louisville for NCAA tournament

Published: Mar. 16, 2016 at 11:52 AM EDT
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The JMU women's basketball team got one step closer to its NCAA tip-off.

It was all smiles as the team hopped on the bus to catch their flight to Louisville on Wednesday morning. The Dukes then practiced at Bellarmine University shortly after arriving in the city where they'll begin their tournament run.

This is the team's third straight year in the NCAA tournament. The players said this year they are determined to bring a win back to Harrisonburg.

Friends, family, and fans joined the JMU cheerleaders and band to send them off as they head to Kentucky. The streamers were flying and the high fives rolling as the team walked from the locker rooms to the bus. The women will take on DePaul University this Friday at noon.

Coming off a first round NCAA loss last year, Head Coach Kenny Brooks said the girls learned a tough lesson. "We gained so much valuable experience and now we're going with the intention of winning basketball games and really being focused," Brooks said. "They played harder, and they made 'JMU Nation' very, very proud; I'm probably the proudest coach in the nation right now."

If the team wins this week, they'll go on to play either Central Arkansas or Louisville. Several of the players said a shot at Louisville on their home court is exactly what they're looking for.