Top-notch national semifinal field set
Notes: Green Bay enters DI tournament action with a 32-1 record
The final four for the Division III Women's Basketball Championship is set. Christopher Newport faces Amherst in the first semifinal, at 6 p.m. ET in Bloomington, Ill., on Friday. Defending champion Washington University at St. Louis is still alive and will face Illinois Wesleyan in the second semifinal.
Washington U. advanced by handing Thomas More its first loss of the season in the regional semifinal 72-53, then topped Chicago 63-58 in Saturday’s regional final. The host school for the Division III championship, Illinois Wesleyan survived a pair of close games to advance. In the regional semifinal, Olivia Lett scored a career-high 28 points in a 77-74 win against Coe College. The Titans then took their only lead of the game with 4.1 seconds remaining against George Fox after trailing by as many as 23 points in the first half. Illinois Wesleyan is making its first national semifinals appearance.
On the other side of the bracket, Christopher Newport posted an 80-76 win against Kean and dispatched host Lebanon Valley 62-50 to advance to Bloomington. This is also the first national semifinals appearance in Christopher Newport history.
With Thomas More out of the field, the highest-ranked team remaining in the field is No. 2 Amherst. The Lord Jeffs played at home last weekend, defeating Muhlenberg by a comfortable 79-60 margin, before eliminating the last undefeated team in the field with a 68-49 win against Babson. Amherst is making its third consecutive appearance in the Division III Final Four.
Need to Know
• Seven of the Division II Elite Eight teams are set. Teams will resume play on Tuesday, March 22, at the St. Joseph Civic Arena in St. Joseph, Mo. Four top seeds advanced, including Arkansas Tech, Michigan Tech, Cal Poly Pomona and Clayton State. In the East Region, top-seeded Bentley plays Pace at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the final spot in the Elite Eight. The matchups on March 22 will feature Metro State vs. Shaw, Arkansas Tech vs. Michigan Tech, Northwester Missouri State vs. Cal Poly Pomona and the Bentley/Pace winner vs. Clayton State.
• Eighth-seeded Shaw is the lowest ranked team to advance to the Division II Elite Eight. The Lady Bears hadn’t practiced since their conference tournament due to illnesses within the team, but marched through their region with a 72-51 win against host and top seed Edinboro, a 70-63 win against No. 5 seed California (Pa.) and a 74-54 win against No. 2 seed Johnson C. Smith.
• Wisconsin-Green Bay is the No. 5 seed in the Dallas regional and enters the tournament with a 32-1 record and Horizon League regular-season and tournament championships under its belt. The Phoenix seniors own a 115-16 record in their career entering NCAA Tournament play. Green Bay and Connecticut are two of the 14 teams all time to enter the NCAA Tournament with at least 30 wins and one or fewer losses. Of the previous 12 teams in that category, 10 made the Final Four. All of them made the Sweet 16.
• Northwest Missouri State, the second seed in the Division II South Central Regional, advanced to the Division II Elite Eight with an 82-70 win over Central Oklahoma in the Regional final. Gabby Curtis was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player. Top seed and host school Northeastern State had been ousted by No. 5 seed Central Oklahoma in the second round, 68-60.
• In Russellville, Ark., Arkansas Tech defeated Delta State in the Division II South Region final for a second consecutive season, this year with a final score of 85-77. ATU’s Jenny Vining was named the Region’s Outstanding Player.
• There was nearly a second No. 8 seed to advance to the Division II Elite Eight, as second seed Metro State had to overcome an early deficit against eighth seed Adams State to capture the Central Region Championship. Metro State is now 30-2 on the season, sealing the first 30-win campaign in Roadrunners history.
• Michigan Tech became the first team to win three consecutive Division II Midwest Regional titles with a 69-57 win against Wisconsin-Parkside on Monday night.
• Connecticut, Tennessee, Baylor and Stanford are the four No. 1 seeds in the Division I Tournament as announced on Monday night.
• The Dallas and Spokane Division I Regionals have the potential for a fourth meeting between the top two teams in their respective conferences. In Dallas, top seed and Big 12 champion Baylor could meet second seed Texas A&M for a fourth time this season while in Spokane, Pac-10 champion Stanford could meet third seed UCLA for a fourth time this year
• In a No. 1 vs. 2 seed matchup in Pomona, Calif., Cal Poly Pomona earned the Division II West Region title with a 68-61 win against Grand Canyon on Monday. CPP senior Reyana Colson led all players with 28 points and earned Most Outstanding Player honors.
• Stanford won three of the four Pac-10 media awards with Jeanette Pohlen as Player of the Year, Chiney Ogwumike as Freshman of the Year and Tara VanDerveer as Coach of the Year. USC junior Briana Gilbreath earned Defensive Player of the Year honors to break up the sweep.
• Fifth-seeded Utah topped second-seed TCU by a 52-47 margin in overtime to capture the Mountain West Tournament Championship. Utah is a 15 seed in the Dayton region while TCU will play in the WNIT.