KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket - PDF) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the bracket for the 32nd Annual Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com. The 32-team, single elimination tournament will take place from March 14 – 20 inside the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky.
The tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EST on March 14, before moving back to 9 a.m. on March 15 and 16. The opening three days feature eight games each. March 17 showcases quarterfinal action beginning at 2 p.m. and the semifinals are scheduled for March 19 at 6 and 8 p.m. The Championship final, which will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, will tip at 6 p.m. on March 20.
NeuLion is the NAIA’s digital media partner and official video-streaming company of 10 select NAIA National Championship events. The first 30 contests from Frankfort, Ky., will be available via live stream for $29.95 and any single day can be purchased for $9.95. Also, one can purchase the all-tournament package of all four basketball tournaments for $49.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
Shawnee State (Ohio) will face William Woods (Mo.) in the events first game at 8:30 a.m. on March 14. The Bears made an immediate splash in their first Division I National Championship in 2011, advancing to the semifinals before falling to eventual national runner-up Union (Tenn.).
Defending national champion Azusa Pacific (Calif.) also opens play on March 14, facing first-time attendee MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at 12 p.m. The Cougars are vying to become the Golden State Athletic Conference’s first repeat champion.
No. 1-ranked in the Coaches’ Poll, Oklahoma City is looking to earn its sixth national title in program history, but will need to get past surprise Red River Athletic Conference Tournament champion Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) in the opening round. The Stars are slated to play the Saints at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, who are making their inaugural trip to the national tournament.
Perennial powerhouse and national tournament regular, Union is making its tournament-record 23rd trip to the event. The Lady Bulldogs boast a 63-17 (.788) record in tournament games, while entering the event with a NAIA-best 31-2 overall record, including a current 15-game win streak this season. Similarly to Oklahoma City, Union is searching for its sixth national championship. The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to hit the court on Thursday at 8 p.m. against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
The final rookie in the field of 32 is Lyon (Ark.). The Scots drew GSAC regular-season and tournament champion Westmont (Calif.) in the first round. Tip is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on March 15.
The Mid-South Conference landed a tournament-high five teams (Cumberlands (Ky.), Shawnee State, Georgetown (Ky.), Campbellsville (Ky.) and Lindsey Wilson), while the GSAC, Sooner Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference garnered four programs each.