Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics
Wayland Baptist will face the William Jessup University Warriors of California in the opening round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships beginning next week in Billings, Mont.
The seventh-ranked Flying Queens (28-5), seeded second in the Liston quadrant of the 32-team bracket, will take the floor at Rimrock Auto Arena at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, March 14 against the Warriors (20-10), who received an at-large bid into the national tournament.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the Flying Queens and William Jessup, located in Rocklin, Calif.
While Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament champion Wayland will be appearing at nationals for the sixth straight year and 26th time overall, the second most of any team in the field, it will be the first-ever national tournament for William Jessup.
The Warriors, ranked the equivalent of 26th in the most recent NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll released earlier today, fell to No. 13 Vanguard in the first round of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament, 71-64. On their week-long trip to California in mid-December, the Flying Queens defeated Vanguard, then ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, 60-58. William Jessup also lost to Vanguard during the conference season, 81-68 and 75-44.
Wayland faced two other GSAC teams while visiting California, fifth-ranked The Master’s and No. 8 Westmont, falling to both. William Jessup was swept by both The Master’s and Westmont. The GSAC has a tournament-high six teams in the 32-team field.
Wayland was eliminated by Westmont in the national semifinals last season in Billings, 56-54. Westmont went on to fall to Freed-Hardeman, Tenn., in the championship, 76-64. Top-ranked Freed-Hardeman (31-2) is the No. 1 overall seed this season.
Last season’s trip to the Fab Four was the Flying Queens’ best showing at the national tournament since finishing as runner-up in 1992.
The Wayland-William Jessup winner advances to a second-round game at 4:30 p.m. Friday against either third-seeded, 12th-ranked Our Lady of the Lake of San Antonio or sixth-seeded, 22nd-ranked Loyola, La. The Flying Queens defeated Our Lady of the Lake in the second game of the season at a tournament in Oklahoma City, 101-77.
Should Wayland continue to win, the Flying Queens would play in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Saturday, in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Monday, and in the championship at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. The championship game will be televised by ESPN3.
The top seed in Wayland’s quadrant is second-ranked Campbellsville, Ky. (31-2).
Wayland is one of three SAC teams to make the tournament, joined by SAC regular-season champion and 10th-ranked Oklahoma City, a No. 3 seed, and Science & Arts of Oklahoma, a No. 7 seed.