Women's Basketball Wins NCAA East Regional, Advances to Play in Elite Eight
The Assumption University women’s basketball team is set to play in their first NCAA Division II Elite Eight in program history on Monday, March 20 at 3:30pm EST when they face off against the University of Minnesota Duluth in St. Joseph, Missouri with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
The Greyhounds qualified for a spot in the Elite Eight last weekend by winning the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball East Regional Championship at home in Laska Gymnasium, defeating Jefferson University in a 62-57 comeback victory led by Regional Final MVP Teagan Curran.
HOW WE GOT HERE
The Greyhounds started the 2022-23 campaign hot out of the gate with 11-straight victories, outscoring their opponents 696-495 during the run. After losing their first game nearly two months after the season started, the Greyhounds rebounded quickly in 2023 to finish the regular season 23-4 – a program record for wins in a season.
In addition to the team’s impressive season on the court, the program also celebrated their 50th anniversary and the career of long-time head coach Kerry Phayre, who became Assumption University’s all-time winningest coach with her 413th victory in November 2022, surpassing former softball coach Ralph DeLucia’s record of 412.
The team entered the Northeast-10 Conference tournament riding a four-game winning streak and a share of the regular-season NE-10 title, however were upset in the NE-10 tournament semifinals by No. 3 seed Southern New Hampshire.
On Sunday, March 5, the Greyhounds, who spent most of the season nationally ranked in the top 25 in both the NCAA Division II Sports Information Directors Association (D2SIDA) and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls, were announced as the number one seed in the East Region for the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. As the top seed, Laska Gymnasium became host venue for the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship.
After cruising past No. 8 seed Dominican University (NY) and No. 5 seed Bentley University in the first two rounds, the Greyhounds earned a spot in the East Regional Final on Monday, March 13 against No. 3 seed Jefferson University. The Rams jumped out to an early 11-0 lead in front of a packed Laska crowd, but the resilient Greyhounds battled back from two separate double-digit deficits led by Curran’s game-high 20 points off the bench. The Hounds took their first lead with just 3:29 remaining in the fourth quarter and held on to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight in St. Joseph, Missouri on March 20.
The Greyhounds enter the Elite Eight boasting the nation’s top scoring defense and top field goal percentage defense in NCAA Division II, holding opponents to just 50.8 points per game and a 32.9 percent field goal percentage. Defense has been the key to success for the Greyhounds, who also rank in the top 25 nationally in three-point defense (5th, 25.1) and scoring margin (22nd, 12.7).
They face a tough matchup with a high-powered offense in a University of Minnesota Duluth squad that is one of the nation’s most efficient scoring teams shooting 47.77 percent from the field this season, good for 4th in the nation in the category. The 30-3 Bulldogs qualified for the Elite Eight by winning the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship and the NCAA Central Regional Championship. This is also the first Elite Eight appearance in program history for the Bulldogs. They are led by graduate forward Brooke Olson, who ranks third in the nation in scoring this season, averaging 23.0 points per game.
In a classic matchup of unstoppable force vs immovable object, the Greyhounds will look to rely on their stifling team defense to slow a Bulldogs team that has won 12-straight and only lost one game since November.
The Elite Eight game against the University of Minnesota Duluth will tip off at 3:30PM EST (2:30 CST) on Monday, March 20th at the St. Joseph Civic Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. For more coverage and information on ticketing click here.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The game can be streamed on the NCAA’s website here. You can also visit assumptiongreyhounds.com for more information regarding stats, rosters, and ways to follow on social media.
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