KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Iowa Wesleyan College women’s basketball team has received its NAIA Division II National Tournament first round assignment and will open against Walsh (Ohio) University at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 11.
The Tigers received a #3 seed in Pool 3 of the bracket and will open on the second day of the championships against the Cavaliers, who finished the regular season with a 24-9. Walsh received a bid to the national tourney by winning the American Mideast Conference Tournament championship and is seeded sixth in Pool 3.
Wesleyan’s first round opponent is going to be no stranger, as IWC and Walsh met once earlier this season. The two teams faced off Dec. 19th in Whiting, Ind., at the Calumet College Crimson Wave Classic. Wesleyan won that meeting by a 76-55 score, as Jessi Beachey (Jr.-Fisher, Ill.) and Jill Ginder (Jr.-Olney, Ill.) both scored 17 points in that game.
The Tigers are making their fourth appearance in the national tourney, all coming in the last five years. IWC is 1-3 in its three previous appearances, with its lone win coming in 2007 in the first round against Menlo (Calif.) College. Last year the Tigers received a #6 seed and lost to #3 seed Concordia (Ore.) University, 70-68 in overtime, coming back from a 17-point first half deficit before being unable to hold a nine-point lead with less than three minutes left in regulation.
Walsh will be making just its second-ever appearance in the NAIA D-II tourney, but had great success in its first trip. The Cavaliers won the national championship in 1998, defeating Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) University in the national championship game. The Cavaliers tied for third in the AMC standings in the regular season with a 14-5 league mark.
Walsh is coached by Laurel Wartluft, who is in her fourth season as coach, and is led on the court by Jessie Miller and Katie Berry, a pair of First Team All-American Mideast Conference players. Miller, a 5-10 senior guard, averages 16.7 points per game and shoots 40% from three-point range, while Berry, a 5-11 junior wing player, adds 14.0 ppg.
IWC goes into the tourney with a 25-7 overall record and won the Midwest Collegiate Conference regular season and postseason tournament championships while tying the school record for wins in a season. The Tigers have a 4-2 record against this year’s tournament field. In addition to defeating Walsh, the Tigers also knocked off MCC foe Grand View University three times. Wesleyan lost to both College of the Ozarks (Mo.), a #1 seed, and Jamestown (N.D.) College, a second seed in the same pool as the Tigers and a possible second round opponent for IWC.
Walsh is 3-4 against teams in this year’s tourney. The Cavaliers defeated Shawnee State (Ohio) University twice and Cedarville (Ohio) University once, while losing one time each Shawnee State, Cedarville and Taylor (Ind.) University as well as Iowa Wesleyan. Walsh and IWC have one common opponent this year, as both teams defeated Marian (Ind.) University in the regular season.
The NAIA Division II women’s national tourney will be contested March 10-16 at the Gateway Arena inside the Tyson Events Center. The tournament bracket is available on the official NAIA Web site at www.naia.org. IWC's games will be available to listen to on radio on KILJ 105.5 FM or to watch on a pay-per-view basis online at www.watchnaia.com.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
NAIA Division II National Championships bracket