Patriot Ladies make NAIA national tournament for 12th time in history

The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Patriot Women’s Basketball team unfortunately made an early exit in the Mid-South Conference (MSC) Tournament. With an overall record of 18-12 and 11-9 in MSC play, the Patriots would have to wait until Wednesday to find out their fate for the NAIA National Tournament. Luckily, fate was on the side of the Patriots.

The Patriot ladies will be making their 12th appearance in the NAIA Women’s Division I National Tournament on March 13th-19th. This is also the 2nd straight appearance for the Patriots and their 10th appearance in the last 12 years with all of those 10 appearances coming under the coaching of Head Coach Melissa Irvin.

The Patriots will head into the Frankfort Convention Center, host site of the NAIA National Championships as well as the Mid-South Conference Championships, next week to begin their run towards an NAIA National Title. UC earned a #8 seed as they will take on #1 seeded Westmont College (California) in the first round of the tournament. Westmont comes into the tournament with a 25-4 overall record and a perfect 14-0 record in the Golden State Athletic Conference. Their only loss to a conference opponent came in the GSAC Tournament Championship game when they fell to Vanguard 63-57.

Westmont is led by senior forward Tugce Canitez who averages 21.6 points (2nd in NAIA) and 12.3 rebounds per game (3rd in NAIA). She leads the NAIA in defensive rebounds per game with 9.1 per game. As a team, Westmont is 5th in the NAIA in field goal percentage shooting 44.9% from the floor this season.

Tipoff will be at 2:15 pm on Thursday afternoon in Frankfort, KY. Tickets are available at the gates at the Frankfort Convention Center. General admission for each session (morning session and afternoon session) is $10.00. Listen live online at You can also catch the tournament online for $9.95 (one day pass) or $29.95 (full tournament pass) at

For more information on the Patriot Women’s Basketball program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit

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