Dayton, Tenn. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) officially announced on Wednesday, Mar. 1, the 32 qualifiers and bracket for the 26th annual NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship, which is being held in Sioux City, Iowa, for the 20th straight season—the longest streak of any current championship host—at the Tyson Events Center from March. 8-14.
The 8th-seeded Bryan College Lions Women's Basketball team was paired with No. 1 seed and the 2nd ranked team in the nation, Concordia University (Neb.), in the Liston Bracket for opening round play on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 12pm CST.
The field is made up of 22 automatic berths and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the conference. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll released today. For that release, click here.
Milligan College (Tenn.), the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season champion, and Reinhardt University (Ga.) who finished 27th in the final poll and earned an at-large bid will also be representing the AAC in Sioux City.
The field is divided into four brackets: Naismith, Cramer, Duer, and Liston; and each bracket is seeded one through eight. In Bryan's bracket are:
- No. 1 Concordia (Neb) (31-2)
- No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) (30-3)
- No. 3 Jamestown (N.D.) (25-5)
- No. 4 IU Northwest (Ind.) (25-6)
- No. 5 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (24-6)
- No. 6 Oregon Tech (24-8)
- No. 7 Saint Francis (Ind.) (18-15)
The Lions had a slow start to the season and battled their way to a 14-14 overall record and 12-10 conference record to wrap up regular-season play, before making history as the first women's team in the AAC to win four games in four days to win the tournament title. Bryan completed an amazing run with a 72-47 win over Tennessee Wesleyan University to take the 2017 AAC Tournament crown. The Lions are currently on a five-game win streak and look to make the Concordia Bulldogs their next victim.
A 28-2 record was good enough to make the Bulldogs the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular-season champions, but they didn't stop there as they outlasted then 9th ranked Dakota Wesleyan in a thrilling overtime victory 78-77 to win the GPAC tournament title. Concordia, 31-2 overall, finished 17-0 at home, completing the program's first undefeated home season in the GPAC era.
The Bulldogs get the edge in experience, having appeared in the National Tournament 16 times compared to Lion's 6. Bryan is looking forward to the rematch after their last appearance in 2015 when Concordia routed the Lions 76-35. Bryan's record at nationals stands at 1-5, while Concordia holds a 22-15 mark.
For all other information regarding the qualifiers, bracket, highlights, and live stream of the event—click here.