Jackets earn NCAA berth, headed to California for regionals - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Jackets earn NCAA berth, headed to California for regionals

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The MSUB Lady Jackets are headed back to the NCAA tournament.

MSUB earned the eighth seed from the West region in the Division II women’s national tournament Sunday night, and will face host, and the No. 1 seed in the region, Azusa Pacific.

Azusa Pacific was ranked No. 2 last week, but moved up a spot and will host the tournament in Azusa, Calif. The Cougars (27-3) won the PacWest Tournament Saturday, defeating Cal Baptist 75-58 for the championship.

“I guess I was a little surprised, but I have been a committee member in the past, and you don’t know how close the 1 and 2 are,” MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin said on the match-up.  “I am not shocked. I am excited however for our players. Not only since it is spring break, but to have the opportunity to play somebody different is always fun. Tonight I will still start looking at their team and I am sure they will do the same and it will be a new experience for both programs. It is an awesome opportunity and experience for our seniors and I am very excited for them.”

After being selected to finish in a tie for seventh in the preseason conference coaches’ poll, MSUB fought its way to a third place finish in the conference standings, earning a place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament. Last week, MSUB won its quarterfinal game against sixth seed Northwest Nazarene (70-65) heading into the semifinals where the Yellowjackets won their game against Western Washington, 78-60, for a place in the championship game. The ‘Jackets fell short in their bid for the automatic berth into the tournament, falling in the title game to Alaska Anchorage (77-57), but secured the eighth seed in the national tournament with an at-large bid.

MSUB and Azusa Pacific have never met in competition. APU made the move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II full membership just two years ago in 2014. Azusa Pacific was accepted into transition in 2011, was accepted for provisional membership in 2013 and has been eligible for postseason competition since 2014. Azusa Pacific University is located in the San Gabriel Valley community of Azusa, 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

From the GNAC, Alaska Anchorage earned the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 Cal State Dominguez Hills. Cal Baptist was selected the No. 3 seed and is set to face fellow PacWest opponent No. 7 Academy of Art. UC San Diego was named the fourth seed and will square-off against No. 5 Cal State East Bay.

In twelve seasons under Coach Woodin, the Yellowjackets have advanced to the NCAA tournament four times. The last time MSUB qualified was in 2013-14. The Yellowjackets entered the 2013-14 NCAA tournament as the second seed, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and west region championship game against host Cal Poly Pomona.

The NCAA tournament runs Mar. 11, 12 & 14. Upcoming game times have yet to be determined. 

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