Lady Lions see first round draws in NAIA National Tournament

Lady Lions see first round draws in NAIA National Tournament

Wed, Mar. 8, 2017 - [Women's Basketball]

Courtesy of NAIA Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket | Video Announcement | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32 qualifiers and bracket for the 37th annual NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo. The event takes place at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings, Mont., March 15 – 21.

This year’s field consists of 14 automatic berths, 17 at-large selections and championship host Rocky Mountain (Mont.). Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, regular-season runners-up, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 poll released today, which can be found here.

Freed-Hardeman takes the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament after being the only team in the field with an undefeated record (33-0). The Lady Lions are among five teams in the American Midwest Conference to be included in the field, along with Lyon College, Columbia College, Lindenwood-Belleville and William Woods.

The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast the first 30 games leading up to the championship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.

For more information on the 2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, click here.

Qualifier Highlights

• Overall top-seed Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) is the only unbeaten team at this year’s championship, as the Lions bring a 33-0 mark into the event. Freed-Hardeman – the American Midwest Conference regular-season and tournament champions – has not lost since falling to eventual national champion MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), 59-51, in the second round last season.
• The Lions are making their 21st all-time and 21st-consecutive national championship appearance, which is the longest active appearance streak in Division I women’s basketball. Despite the tremendous success, Freed-Hardeman is still chasing that illusive first national title. The Lions have reached at least the semifinals in four of the last six seasons, including a runner-up finish in 2014.
• Defending national champion MidAmerica Nazarene enters the event looking to become the ninth team in Division I history to win back-to-back titles. The Pioneers, who are a No. 7 seed at this year’s event, face perennial powerhouse Oklahoma City Wednesday at12 p.m. MST.
• Oklahoma City, which prior to last year had won three of the last four national championships, owns a NAIA record eight red banners. The Stars – 66-14 all-time at the event – are one win shy of tying former member Union (Tenn.) for most all-time national tournament wins (67).
• Outside of MidAmerica Nazarene and Oklahoma City, Vanguard (Calif.) (2008) and Westmont (Calif.) (2013) are the only other qualifiers with titles on their resumes.
• All four semifinalists are back from the 2016 championship – Baker (Kan.), Benedictine (Kan.), MidAmerica Nazarene and Pikeville (Ky.)
• Twenty-five of the 32 qualifiers participated in the 2016 championship.
• Campbellsville (Ky.) owns a qualifier-best 25 national championship appearances. Other teams with 20-or-more trips to the national championship are Freed-Hardeman (21), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (20), Oklahoma City (23) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) (24).
• Lindenwood-Belleville and William Penn (Iowa) both qualified for the first time in program history. Both teams garnered at-large berths.
• Host institution Rocky Mountain (Mont.) snaps the longest drought without a championship appearance, as the Battlin’ Bears are in the field for the first time since 1988.
• Seven teams are searching for their first-ever championship victory – Central Methodist (Mo.) (0-2), Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) (0-0), LSU Shreveport (La.) (0-6), Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (0-2), Rocky Mountain (0-1), Talladega (Ala.) (0-2) and William Penn (0-0).
• The American Midwest Conference and Heart of America Athletic Conference each boast five programs in the 2017 field. The only league without representation at this year’s event is the Association of Independent Institutions.

2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Qualifiers

School

Record^

Qualification

Appearances

Tour. Record

Last Time

Titles

Baker (Kan.)

29-4

Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

4th

5-3

2016

0

Benedictine (Kan.)

25-8

Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular-Season Runner-Up

4th

5-3

2016

0

Bethel (Tenn.)

23-10

At-Large No. 8

8th

6-7

2016

0

Biola (Calif.)

23-7

At-Large No. 6

8th

3-7

2012

0

Campbellsville (Ky.)

25-6

At-Large No. 3

25th

26-24

2016

0

Central Methodist (Mo.)

23-9

At-Large No. 10

3rd

0-2

2016

0

Columbia (Mo.)

26-6

At-Large No. 5

13th

3-12

2016

0

Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)

33-0

American Midwest Conference Regular-Season Champion

21st

32-20

2016

0

John Brown (Ark.)

22-8

At-Large No. 9

5th

3-4

2014

0

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

31-1

Frontier Conference Tournament Champion

20th

20-19

2016

0

Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.)

22-9

At-Large No. 13

1st

0-0

n/a

0

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

30-2

At-Large No. 1

12th

5-11

2016

0

Loyola (La.)

26-6

Southern States Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

9th

4-8

2016

0

LSU Shreveport (La.)

22-9

Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

7th

0-6

2016

0

Lyon (Ark.)

27-5

American Midwest Conference Tournament Runner-Up

6th

1-5

2016

0

Martin Methodist (Tenn.)

21-10

At-Large No. 15

3rd

0-2

2016

0

MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

18-13

At-Large No. 14

6th

7-4

2016

1

Mobile (Ala.)

22-10

Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

8th

2-7

2014

0

Montana State-Northern

23-8

At-Large No. 4

14th

10-13

2016

0

Montana Western

23-8

At-Large No. 11

9th

6-8

2007

0

Oklahoma City

29-2

Sooner Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

23rd

66-14

2016

8

Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)

24-8

Red River Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

6th

4-5

2016

0

Pikeville (Ky.)

21-10

At-Large No. 12

5th

3-4

2016

0

Rocky Mountain (Mont.)

13-18

Championship Host

2nd

0-1

1988

0

Shawnee State (Ohio)

31-2

Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion

7th

8-6

2016

0

Talladega (Ala.)

22-8

Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

3rd

0-2

2016

0

The Master's (Calif.)

22-8

At-Large No. 7

12th

7-11

2016

0

Vanguard (Calif.)

27-3

At-Large No. 2

19th

27-17

2016

1

Wayland Baptist (Texas)

25-6

Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up

24th

25-23

2016

0

Westmont (Calif.)

27-4

Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

12th

12-10

2016

1

William Penn (Iowa)

18-13

At-Large No. 16

1st

0-0

n/a

0

William Woods (Mo.)

20-11

At-Large No. 17

10th

2-9

2016

0