In the day's opener, the Shawnee State women's basketball team will be looking to wrap up its first spot in the round of eight since 2001 when it takes on Aquinas (Mich.) at 8:30 a.m. (CST), 9:30 a.m. (EST).
The third-seeded Bears (26-6) enter the contest after their biggest tournament victory since 2000, a 39-point drubbing of tourney newcomer Haskell Indian Nations on Wednesday in the tournament's first game.
Aquinas (21-11), a seven seed, upset second-seeded St. Francis (Ind.) 67-65 in overtime Wednesday.
The Bears had a balanced attack in Wednesday's opening round with all five starters scoring at least nine points. Senior guard Mallory Albers led the charge with 13 points.
Aquinas, located about 50 miles north of Kalamazoo (Mich.), is also making its third-consecutive trip to the national tournament. The Saints have fallen in the first round each of the last two years and never advanced past round two in any of their previous seven national tournament appearances.
Leading the Saints is senior utility player Joslyn Narber, a 5-foot-10 do-it-all player who leads Aquinas in scoring, field goal percentage, 3-pointers made, free throw percentage, rebounds, assists and steals.
Narber had seven points in Wednesday's overtime session, willing her team to the victory.
Star post players and physical play have given the Bears fits in recent tournament runs.
Wednesday, Haskell’s post duo was able to combine for 20 points against the Bears, but they were countered by SSU’s quartet of Alison Meyer, Jill Cropper, Alex Pohl and Catrice Mitchell, who combined for 31 points and 21 boards. The winner of this contest will face either Hastings (Neb.), the nations No. 1 team, or Grand View (Iowa) in Saturday’s first national quarterfinal contest.