SSU women Indy-bound for Opening Round

PORTSMOUTH — The 2020-21 women’s basketball team at Shawnee State qualified for its 14th consecutive NAIA postseason tournament Thursday evening as the Bears, in the one-division format, earned an at-large berth by obtaining a No. 2 seed in the Indianapolis Bracket A portion of the NAIA Opening Round.

As a No. 2 seed, the Bears will play No. 3 West Virginia Tech in a contest that will be played Friday, March 12 at a time yet to be determined. The game will be held on the campus of Marian University in Indianapolis, Ind.

Shawnee State, who finished its regular season and conference tournament run with a 18-8 overall record, was ranked 20th in the 48-team field and third among the teams that did not obtain an automatic berth. The Bears are one of 10 programs in the field who have previously won a national championship. They’ll face West Virginia Tech (12-8), who won the River States Conference Championship and garnered one of its two automatic bids in the process.

The Bears’ bid into the field continues a successful run for SSU head coach Jeff Nickel, who guided Shawnee State through the loss of four-year starting point guard Bailey Cummins, two-year contributor Sydney King, Sienna King, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while playing in arguably the NAIA’s toughest conference to help SSU contend inside the conference’s top-half standings.

The South Shore, Ky. native sits with a 213-59 overall career record as a head coach and as of this past week, has coached 30 All-Mid-South Conference honorees — including Brandie Snow, Anyia Pride and Carson Roney, who each took home all-conference accolades for the second consecutive season.

National tournament team members include Nickel, Pride, Roney, Snow, Hagen Schaefer, Abbie Kallner, Bethany Mackin, Marnae Holland, Natalie Zuchowski, Evelyn Oktavec, Kam Elzy, Erika Hendrixson, Shavon Robinson, Doran Martin and Mason Samlow.

With a Shawnee State victory over West Virginia Tech, the Bears would play the No. 1 seed in the Indianapolis Bracket A portion of the NAIA Opening Round, St. Francis (Ill.), Saturday, March 13 for the opportunity to move on to the final site of the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Ia.

Game times and additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

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