Doug Self, Sports Information Director
INDIANAPOLIS – SWOSU Women’s Basketball used their automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament to claim the No. 2 seed in the Central Regional and a rematch with No. 7-seed Emporia State in the opening round, which will be played at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, Kan. The tournament bracket was announced on Sunday night during the Selection Show on NCAA.com.
SWOSU is making its second consecutive trip to the Central Regional and they enter the national tournament with the highest-seed in program history. The Lady Bulldogs entered the final weekend as the No. 1-team in the region and won three straight games to win the Great American Conference Tournament Championship, but it was not enough to hold off Fort Hays State for the top-seed and right to host the regional.
The opening round pits SWOSU against Emporia State, the only team to have defeated the 30-1 Lady Bulldogs this season. Since suffering a 68-60 loss to the Lady Hornets on November 9th, SWOSU has won 30 consecutive games and they enter the postseason with the second-longest active win streak in NCAA Division II. In one prior postseason meeting, ESU defeated SWOSU, 97-65, in the opening round of the 2014 Central Regional in Searcy, Arkansas.
Fort Hays State claimed the top seed in the region after winning both the MIAA regular season and tournament championships and the Tigers also enter the regional with a record of 30-1. FHSU will face Pittsburg State in the quarterfinals and other first-round matchups include Minnesota Duluth vs. Minnesota State-Moorhead and defending National Champion Central Missouri against Lindenwood.
Four-time Great American Conference Coach of the Year Kelsi Musick has led the Lady Bulldogs to their first 30-win season as an NCAA Division II institution and she’s now taking SWOSU to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the fourth time in the past seven seasons. SWOSU is 1-3 at the Central Regional, with their last victory coming in 2013 as they defeated Central Missouri, 73-71, in Topeka, Kan.
Tipoff times for the regional games will be announced on Monday.
NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament
(1) Fort Hays State vs. (8) Pittsburg State
(2) Southwestern vs. (7) Emporia State
(3) Central Missouri vs. (6) Lindenwood
(4) Minnesota Duluth vs. (5) Minnesota State-Moorhead