NCAA TOURNAMENT: Bruins to Meet Occidental in NCAA 1st Round at Chapman
NEWBERG, Ore. – Occidental College, the champion of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, will be George Fox University’s first-round opponent this Friday, March 4, colliding at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., in the 2010-11 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.
George Fox (22-5), the Northwest Conference representative, and Occidental (19-8) will be joined in the West Regional by host Chapman (22-5), the only “Pool B” independent selection, and Louisiana College (24-3), a “Pool C” at-large pick from the American Southwest Conference. Times for Friday’s games are 5:00 p.m. for the George Fox-Occidental game and 7:00 p.m. for the Chapman-Louisiana College game.
George Fox was the NWC co-champion with Lewis & Clark College, which was also selected for the tournament as an at-large team and will play Howard Payne University at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is the first time ever that the NCAA has split two Northwest Conference women’s basketball teams into separate brackets, which means the two will not have to face each other for a fourth time in the first and second rounds as has often happened in the past, but the trade-off is that the move probably cost one or the other a chance at hosting the regional.
The Bruins earned the league’s automatic bid by defeating the Pioneers 76-68 in overtime in the NWC Tournament championship game. This will be the fifth consecutive year and eighth time overall in the NCAA Tournament for the Bruins, who own a 15-6 record, five “Sweet 16” and three “Elite 8” appearances, and the 2008-09 national championship.
Occidental, located in Los Angeles, Calif., claimed both the SCIAC regular season and tournament titles to earn an automatic bid. The Tigers are making their second NCAA appearance, having also played in 2009, when they lost in the first round to Chapman. This will be the first meeting ever between the Bruins and the Tigers.
Chapman will be making its 10th tournament appearance in the past 11 years. The Panthers and Bruins have met six times, with George Fox winning them all, including a 75-57 win this season on Nov. 21 in Newberg. Three times the teams have met in the NCAA Tournament, with the Bruins eliminating the Panthers in 2005, 2008, and 2009.
Louisiana College, from Pineville, La., received its bid after losing 83-69 at Howard Payne in the finals of the ASC Tournament. The Wildcats made their first NCAA appearance last year and lost to George Fox in the first round 65-49 on March 5, the only time the two have ever met. LC is the only nationally-ranked team in the regional, standing 14th in the Feb. 20 D3hoops.com poll and 17th in the Feb. 22 USA Today / ESPN / Women’s Basketball Coaches Association poll.
The regional title game will be Saturday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m., with the winner advancing to a four-team sectional site to be determined for Friday-Saturday, March 11-12. The “Final Four” is set for Friday-Saturday, March 18-19, at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.