In the "Can You Top This?" department, Krista Van Hauen hopes to complete a debut season as coach at St. Ambrose that simply can't be topped.
Van Hauen was named the Midwest Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year on Wednesday afternoon. A couple of hours later, she and her 10th-ranked Queen Bees were handed their map to an NAIA Division II National title.
It will start with a 5:15 p.m. national tourney first-round meeting in Sioux City, Iowa, with Mount Vernon Nazarene University from Mount Vernon, Ohio.
The MCC champion Bees (28-4) were seeded third in their quarter of the 32-team bracket. Nazarene (21-8) received a No. 6 seed and an at-large bid despite finishing fifth in the American Mideast Conference and falling in the semifinals of the AMC tourney.
Four AMC teams made the field, including league champ Walsh, a No. 1 seed. Iowa Wesleyan was the only other MCC team invited to the tourney.
Scouting potential recruits at the Iowa girls state basketball tournament in Des Moines, Van Hauen was trying to gain information on the Cougars via her mobile phone Wednesday night.
"They're 21-8, and that's all I know right now," she said.
She said she planned to return to Davenport on Wednesday night and begin breaking down the Cougars.
The Bees find themselves in the same bracket as the No. 2 overall seed in the field, once-beaten Northwestern from Orange City, Iowa. Northwestern's lone loss is to top-ranked and unbeaten Davenport, Mich.
The SAU-Mt. Vernon Nazarene winner would play March 11 in a 3:30 p.m. second-round game vs. the winner of No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan (27-5) and No. 7 Cornerstone of Michigan (22-9).
The Bees will be making their 16th appearance in the NAIA event. They finished third in 1989 and 1990.
Van Hauen said her MCC Coach of the Year honor was owed to her team.
"It has been a remarkable first year, and I couldn't be prouder of my team," she said. "They have made that transition so well. It's easy to coach good kids, and I've got great kids."
That includes star senior Ali Dolphin, who became the first Queen Bees player to win all-MCC first-team honors for four straight seasons Wednesday.
"That just puts a stamp on her career at St. Ambrose," Van Hauen said of Dolphin, who was joined on the first team by fellow senior Megan Cash.
Davenport Assumption graduate Annie Smith, an SAU junior, received honorable mention for the Bees, as did Ashford's Jordan Davis, a senior from Delmar, Iowa.