Lady Scots NAIA Division I Women’s National Championship Preview

Courtesy Lyon College Athletics Department

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The 33rd annual NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship will tip off Wednesday at the Frankfort Convention Center. The city of Frankfort and the Mid-South Conference are hosting the event for the second-straight year with 31 games being played over seven days, ending with the championship final March 19 at 6:35 p.m. EST.

The championship’s opening contest features Lee (Tenn.) (30-2) and LSU Shreveport (La.) (25-5) Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. The first three days will see eight games each with Thursday and Friday starting at 9 a.m. Quarterfinal action tips off at 2 p.m. Saturday with the semifinals slated for March 18 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. All games leading up to the national championship final will be video-streamed live with the final game televised on CBS Sports Network.

Lyon College (28-4) will battle Georgetown College (22-9) on Thursday at 8 p.m. EST in a first-round matchup. The winner will play the survivor of Lubbock Christian (29-3) vs. Southern-New Orleans (La.) (20-4) on Friday at 8 p.m. EST. Live pay-per-view video streaming of the game can by found by clicking HERE and Livestats can be found by clicking HERE. NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company of 12 select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the first 30 games from Frankfort, Ky. An all-tournament pass (30 games) is available for $29.95, while a single day pass can be purchased for $9.95. For more information and to pre-register, click the previous link.

Live indepth information on the tournament teams can be found by clicking HERE.

Nineteen teams that participated in last year’s event return to the 2013 field, including three 2012 semifinalists in Oklahoma City, Georgetown (Ky.) and Lubbock Christian (Texas). On the contrary, five squads – Benedictine (Kan.), Central Methodist (Mo.), Coastal Georgia, Faulkner (Ala.) and St. Catharine (Ky.) – are appearing for the first time.

Defending national champion Oklahoma City (26-3) enters the championship as the most decorated of the 32 teams. The Stars, who qualified as the No. 1 at-large out of the Sooner Athletic Conference and are making their 16th-straight (19th all-time) appearance, rank third all-time with 54 victories at the event, trailing only former-NAIA members Union (Tenn.) (67) and Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (58). Oklahoma City ranks second all-time with six national titles – Southern Nazarene boasts an event-best seven championships – in nine trips to the finals, including four-straight crowns from 1999-2002. A repeat title by the Stars this season would equal the 12th time a team has won consecutive national championships. Oklahoma City begins its quest for a seventh national crown against Central Methodist (Mo.) at noon on Wednesday.

Outside of Oklahoma City, only Vanguard (Calif.) has won a national title (2008) amongst the qualifiers. The Lions are 23-13 in 15 appearances at the national championship, but have lost in the first round the last two seasons. The Golden State Athletic Conference tournament champions are schedule for a 4 p.m. tip against Southern Poly (Ga.) on Wednesday.

Top-ranked Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) enters the championship searching for its first national title in program history. The Lady Lions come to Frankfort with an NAIA-best 31-1 overall record, including a run of 18-straight wins dating back to Jan. 4. Freed-Hardeman is making its 17th trip to the national championship and owns a 21-16 record in those contests. The Lady Lions won their fifth all-time TranSouth Athletic Conference Tournament championship with a 71-63 win over second-seeded Martin Methodist (Tenn.) to claim the league’s automatic berth.

Nine teams in the 2013 field have made at least 10 appearances, led by Campbellsville’s 21 trips. The Lady Tigers, who qualified as the Mid-South Conference Tournament runner-up, own a 17-20 national championship record, including six trips to the quarterfinals. In addition to Campbellsville, four other programs have made 15-or-more appearances: Oklahoma City (19), Xavier (La.) (17), Freed-Hardeman (17) and Vanguard (15).

For the second-straight year, the Mid-South Conference placed the most programs of any conference or unaffiliated group with six programs: Campbellsville, Cumberland (Tenn.), Cumberlands (Ky.), Georgetown (Ky.), St. Catharine (Ky.) and Shawnee State (Ohio). The Southern States Athletic Conference is second with four representatives, while five other leagues boast three qualifiers.

In 33 years, there have been 194 programs that have qualified for the Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, with 12 different teams claiming a national crown.

For more information on the national championship, click here.

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