The Shawnee State women’s basketball program will open the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Tournament as a No. 1 seed, and will take on No. 8 William Woods (Mo.) next Thursday.
The Bears finished the season 31-2, and took home the Mid-South Conference’s regular season and tournament titles after winning 11 games in a r ow. SSU’s 71-65 win over Lindsey Wilson in the MSC Championship Game on Sunday was enough to propel them to No. 3 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, good enough to clinch a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
The Bears will take on William Woods of the American Midwest Conference in the first round on Thursday, March 16th at 4:30 p.m. The Owls went 20-11 this season and finished fifth in the AMC. All four teams ahead of them also qualified for the tournament.
Overall, the Mid-South Conference earned four bids to the national tournament this season. Lindsey Wilson dropped to No. 4, and is the one seed in the Cramer Bracket. They will play Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in the first round. Campbellsville was picked as the No. 3 seed in the Naismith Bracket, and will play Talladega (Ala.) on Wednesday. Pikeville was selected as the No. 6 seed in the Duer Bracket and will play Lyon (Ark.) on Thursday at 9 a.m.
Shawnee State jumped two teams in the NAIA Top 25 poll to grab the No. 3 slot, passing Lindsey Wilson and Vanguard (Calif.), who dropped into a tie for fifth with Oklahoma City. Westmont (Calif.) and Baker (Kan.) held steady at seventh and eighth respectively. Campbellsville and Lyon switched spots, with the Scots climbing to ninth and the Tigers falling to the No. 10 slot overall.
Overall, the Heart of America Athletic Conference and the American Midwest Conference tied for the most bids to the tournament, with each conference getting five. The Association of Independent Institutions was the only NAIA affliate to miss out on putting a team in the NAIA Division I Tournament.