Niagara Gazette — All season long, the Niagara women's basketball team has been dealing with expectations.
Picked to finish second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and boast the league's best player, the Purple Eagles got off to a slow start and have only recently begun playing up to their potential.
And one great expectation has been growing by the day.
Niagara will wrap up its best regular season in eight years next weekend while its leader is laid up in the hospital watching the games online.
"I will try not to yell too loud," coach Kendra Faustin said, "and wake up all the babies in the nursery."
Faustin is due to deliver her second child on Wednesday. She coached the Purple Eagles as long as she could, standing on the sideline while her son hovered over the court during Sunday's 48-43 comeback win over Manhattan at the Gallagher Center.
"We were all a little worried he'd come early," said center Lauren Gatto, who scored a putback basket with 15 seconds left to seal the win.
With assistants Corrine Jones and Mark Kotarski taking the reigns this week, Faustin is now free to focus on preparing for her newborn's arrival.
"I should probably get the nursery done and get all those things taken care of," Faustin said. "I'm having a baby on Wednesday and all I could think about was (the next game)."
Faustin, 33, and her husband, R.J., welcomed son Callard 16 months ago after a heart-wrenching three-year struggle to conceive. She sat out the first six games of last season while Jones coached the team.
"It's a different time of year and it's a little easier in a lot of ways for our players," Faustin said. "It might be harder for our staff because it's crunch time, but for our players it's easier because our roles are solidified, our goals and expectations don't change. They are all set and very clear."