Dance worth the wait

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

The best things in life are worth waiting for.

Just ask Jessie Lamparski.

The Hamilton guard, who didn't choose a university until she received a late full-scholarship offer from Buffalo's Canisius College Golden Griffins in the summer of 2003, proved patience is a virtue yesterday here at HSBC Arena.

Lamparski nailed a late three-pointer that put Canisius ahead for good as the Griffins advanced to the NCAA Division I women's championship for the first time in school history with a 60-59 win over the Marist Red Foxes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference final.

PATIENT

"I wasn't getting that many looks near end of senior year in high school (at St. Mary's)," said Lamparski, 21, who scored 11 points yesterday in front of her old high school coach, Rich Wesolowski. "They were looking at another point guard but didn't get her.

"I needed to make a decision soon, but I'm so happy I held out because it's the best decision I ever made. Now, I'm going to the big dance."

What's more, she'll be in the NCAA March Madness spotlight with three Canadian teammates -- fellow sophomores Megan Lyte (Midhurst, Ont.), Abby Radunske (New Hamburg, Ont.) and rookie Katie Thorner (Sarnia). The three Canuck sophomores are roommates.

"Stuff like this helps Canadian ball," Wesolowski, who coached Lamparski to four provincial high school titles, said. "A team with four Canadians going to the tournament, that's going to help other Canadians in the future."

Lamparski's three with 1:40 remaining put the underdog Griffins ahead 55-54. Canisius snapped Marist's 16-game winning streak and now will try to record the first win in 25 tries for a MAAC team at the NCAA tourney.

"(Lamparski) is probably the toughest person you will ever meet," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "There is no quit in Jessie Lamparski."


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