Grand Island, Neb. - Head coach Bob Hallberg and the No. 2 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team has received one of the four coveted No. 1 seeds in next week's 2010 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championships in Jackson, Tenn., when the seeds and pairings for the event were released by College Fanz Sports Network Wednesday afternoon. The 32-team, single-elimination tournament is divided into four, eight-team brackets with teams seeded one through eight based off the final NAIA Ratings Poll. The Cougars will face No. 8 seed Evangel University (Mo.) in first-round action on Thursday, March 18, with a scheduled 6:15 p.m. (central) tip-off at Oman Arena in Jackson.
"In a tournament like this one, every team has difficulty analyzing its opponent, because they are spread out all over the country and not on national television," said Hallberg. "I think it is important for our team to make sure we go into the tournament playing at a high level and the rest will take care of itself. We know what we are capable of accomplishing and you just have to take it one game at a time."
Evangel comes into the national tournament with a 23-9 overall record. The Lady Crusaders received an automatic bid for this year's NAIA National Championships by finishing as the runner-up in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). Evangel lost to No. 25 ranked William Jewell College (Mo.) in overtime, 67-60, in the championship game of the HAAC Tournament Tuesday evening.
Saint Xavier has had an impressive season thus far posting a 29-1 overall record and winning the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular season and tournament titles. This marks the eighth straight season that SXU has advanced to the NAIA National Championships, which begins on Wednesday, March 17. The Cougars have advanced to the "Sweet 16" in three of the past four seasons.Click here for the official NAIA Tournament bracket