And then there were eight
Teams gear up for the NCAA quarterfiinals in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO --The NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals are slated to be begin Tuesday at Bill Greehey Arena.
Co-hosted by St. Mary’s (Texas) and San Antonio Sports, the quarterfinals tip off on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Augustana (S.D.) takes on Clayton State in the opener. Dowling and Colorado Mesa tangle at 3:30 p.m. and Nova Southeastern meets Western Washington at 7 p.m. The final game of the opening day starts at 9:30 p.m., with a matchup between last year’s runner-up, Ashland, and Gannon.
The semifinals are on the docket for Wednesday, beginning with a 7 p.m. game between the winners of Augustana/Clayton State and Dowling/Colorado Mesa. The second semifinal contest will pit the winner of Nova Southeastern/Western Washington and Gannon/Ashland.
A new DII national champion will be crowned Friday, with the action getting under way at 8 p.m.
Shaw emerged as last year’s national champ in San Antonio, beating Ashland 88-82 in overtime. This year, Shaw was eliminated by Glenville State in the first round.
The Clayton State Lakers (32-0) are ranked No. 1 in the nation, and won the championship in 2011 with a 69-50 victory against Michigan Tech. Clayton State is the only undefeated women’s team in Division I and Division II.
The Lakers have been guided by head coach Dennis Cox since 2004. Last year, after winning the national title, Clayton State was upset by Wingate in the second round.
“I think one of the hardest things to do in competitive sports is to repeat as champions from one year to the next,” Cox said. “We got to taste the sweetness of winning our last game in 2011, and it was a very good team last year (29-4). We did our best to defend the title.
"One thing that was missing, however, was the hunger. When we looked back on it, we realized we had not worked as hard as we did the year before when we won it all. So, this year, we vowed that the hard work would not be lacking in our attempt.”
Clayton State advanced to the Elite Eight by defeating Limestone 87-65 in the Southeast Regional final in Morrow, Ga.
The Ashland Eagles (34-1), ranked No. 2 nationally, is the only team in this year’s tournament field which competed in the 2012 Elite Eight. Ashland, which set a school record for victories, earned a slot by beating Wayne State 72-63 at the Midwest Region event, held on the Eagles’ campus.
The Colorado Mesa Mavericks (31-1), ranked fourth nationally, edged Midwestern State 69-65 in the South Central Regional at Grand Junction, Colo. The fifth-ranked Western Washington Vikings (28-3) punched their ticket to San Antonio by defeating Simon Fraser 75-58 at the West Region final at Bellingham, Wash.
The Gannon Knights (31-4), ranked seventh, came out ahead of California (Pa.) 50-47 at the Atlantic Region Championship in Erie, Pa. It marked Gannon’s 16th consecutive win on its home court.
The 10th-ranked Dowling Golden Lions (28-3) upset No. 3 Bentley 53-51 in the East Regional in Waltham, Mass. Bentley advanced to last year’s national semifinals, but was ousted by Ashland.
The No. 24 Augustana Vikings (27-6) prevailed in a 75-74 win over Emporia State at the Central Region title game in Topeka, Kan. Augustana, which set a school record for victories, hit two free throws with .7 seconds remaining on the clock.
Nova Southeastern is the only team not ranked in the top-25 poll. The Sharks (23-8), who received votes, captured a 78-56 win against Delta State in the South Regional in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.