EMMITSBURG -- If she weren't the starting point guard for the Mount St. Mary's women's basketball team, Erica Herbert might not mind being a big-time investment banker.
"I love money," said Herbert. "I love to see how everything works. People sort of know how things work, but they don't. If they knew what's really going on, they would spend their money more wisely."
Said center Vanessa Blair: "On road trips, she keeps the team up-to-date on the status of the dollar. She's always watching CNN and she gets the paper daily."
Though Herbert, a 5-foot-5 junior and Western High graduate who carries a double major of economics and business and finance, has her head in figures, both she and Blair, a 6-foot senior, are money in the bank for the Mount.
Blair, a former star at Largo High, merely won her second straight Northeast Conference Player of the Year award, leading the league in scoring (18.8), field-goal shooting (53 percent), steals and blocks, and finishing third in rebounding (11.1).
Herbert's stat line wasn't nearly as gaudy as Blair's, as she was seventh in scoring and tied for 10th in assists, but she provided cohesive floor leadership and bounced back from a knee injury last season.
As they prepare for this weekend's Northeast Conference tournament, to be played at Knott Arena, Blair and Herbert will wait anxiously for an at-large bid to the 48-team NCAA tournament (pairings are announced Sunday) even if their team wins the NEC title, because the Northeast doesn't have an automatic bid.
"If we win the championship, I think we deserve to go to the tournament," said Blair. "We have the caliber of team and we've played well this season."
Said Herbert: "We've never been blown out of a game this year and we have the talent. We would make a good representation for the Northeast Conference."
The Mountaineers (22-4), the top seed, blazed through the conference schedule this season with a 15-1 mark and will meet fifth seed Wagner tonight at 8 in a semifinal. The title game is tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
Both Blair and Herbert drew interest from bigger Division I schools such as Virginia and Penn State that are nestled in the top 10 of women's basketball, but neither regrets coming to the Mount, where Blair says students have been known to shoo cows out of their classrooms.
I wanted to come to a place where I could be comfortable and concentrate on academics as well as basketball," said Herbert.
Said Blair: "I knew I'd get a chance to play here."