Whitman women off to Big Dance

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WALLA WALLA — The Whitman women are going to the “Big Dance” for the first time in school history after receiving an at-large bid from the NCAA Division III selection committee — the 64-team field being announced Monday.

The Missionaries posted a 20-4 regular season and a 13-3 Northwest Conference mark that earned them second place in the NWC, which is sending three teams to the tourney: Lewis & Clark, NWC tournament champ Whitworth and Whitman.

“We are thrilled,” said Missionary head coach Michelle Ferenz. “I think our selection not only demonstrates recognition of our season but also, on a national level that the Northwest Conference is very, very good in women’s basketball. When you start stacking us up against other teams for at-large bids, our strength of schedule really carries us ahead of a lot of those other teams.”

The Missionaries face Cal Lutheran (23-4) on Friday at Lewis & Clark College in Portland at 5:30 p.m.

The Regals won their second consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title by beating Chapman, 59-54, in the conference title game.

Whitman suffered a loss at home in the NWC semifinals after earning the No. 2 seed to the tournament, but earned the NCAA berth based on its total body of work.

The 13-3 conference record included a road win at then-No. 5-ranked Lewis & Clark, and a victory over nationally ranked George Fox, to name a couple of the highlights.

“I am just thrilled to have another week with these kids,” said Ferenz. “It’s been a fun season. It’s a great group and they work so hard. The really deserve it.”

No. 8 Lewis & Clark is in the same grouping, facing Trinity of Texas Friday, and the Pioneers and the Missionaries could matchup for a third time this season Saturday if they both win their openers.

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Comments

huntinwr says...

This should be a good matchup for Whitman. The teams actually have two common opponents. According to their website, Cal Lutheran defeated Whitworth and lost to George Fox in early season games. Go Whitties!

Posted 26 February 2013, 2:19 p.m. Suggest removal

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