WILBERFORCE — The Wilberforce University women’s basketball team learned who they would play in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship tournament, when the pairings were announced on Wednesday night, Feb. 27.
Wilberforce (14-12) qualified for its first-ever trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II tournament with a third-place finish last month in the Association of Independent Institutions (AII) women’s tournament in Lincoln, Illinois.
The AII was the only NAIA-affiliated conference to get automatic tourney berths for its top-3 tournament teams. It’s possible that the selection committee took that into consideration when it made its pairings, as Wilberforce drew Concordia University (Nebraska) as its first-round opponent.
Concordia is the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed with a 30-3 overall record. Concordia won the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season title, and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the final NAIA Division II women’s basketball coach’s Top 25 poll which was released Feb. 27. They will be making their 17th appearance in the national tournament.
Defending national champion Dakota Wesleyan (S. Dakota) is in the tourney as the third overall seed.
The 32-team field consists of 23 automatic berths, and nine at-large spots. Bellevue University (Nebraska), Dordt College (Iowa), and WVU Tech (W. Virginia) are also making their first tournament appearances.
Wilberforce, led by second-year coach Derek Williams, will take on Concordia at noon, Wednesday, March 6 when the tournament gets under way at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa, which is the site for the entire tournament.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. Follow the opening rounds of the NAIA tournament at NAIANetwork.com. The championship semifinals and final will be streamed nationally on ESPN3.com .