KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released its 32-team bracket for the 21st Annual State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship. The Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa, will host the event March 7 – 13.
The tournament begins with first round action March 7 – 8 and ends with the championship final at 8 p.m. CST on March 13. The championship game will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.
In the tournament’s first game, third-seeded Jamestown (N.D.), an at-large qualifier out of the Association of Independents, will take on sixth-seeded Union (Ky.), the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament champion. Later on March 7, top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan will begin its quest for the school’s second national championship in a first-round matchup with No. 8 seed Menlo (Calif.). Concordia (Neb.), which tied Iowa Wesleyan for the most victories this season with 31, is listed as the No. 1 seed at the bottom of the bracket and draws Sterling (Kan.) in a first-round game on March 8.
Four-time defending champion Northwestern (Iowa) garnered a No. 2 seed and a matchup with seventh-seeded Indiana Southeast on March 7. The Red Raiders dropped to second place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference this season after losing two-time Tournament MVP Becca Hurley. However, Northwestern boasts a pair of players that took National Player of the Week honors this season in Kami Kuhlmann and Kendra De Jong. The Red Raiders topped Davenport (Mich.) in last season’s national championship. Davenport is a No. 1 seed in the bracket and will face No. 8 Cal State Marcos on March 7.
Morningside (Iowa) joins Northwestern and Davenport as Fab Four teams from last season to return to the tournament in 2012. The Mustangs are tabbed as a No. 2 seed and pitted against seventh-seeded Daemen (N.Y.), which earned an at-large spot. There are three newcomers to this year’s bracket: Ave Maria (Fla.), Cal State San Marcos and Point Park (Pa.). Third-seeded Ave Maria will play sixth-seeded Eastern Oregon in the first round, Cal State San Marcos will battle Davenport and No. 6 seed Point Park takes on third-seeded Corban (Ore.).