St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 29, 2016 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team was selected to host the 2016 NCAA Division III Championship First and Second Rounds Friday-Saturday at the WU Field House. The Bears will face Greenville College in the First Round at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The other first-round game, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday, will feature No. 24 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Bluffton University. The winners of Friday's games will square off in the Second Round at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and students with ID. The ticket booth will open one hour prior to game time each night. All three games will be broadcast live on the Bear Sports Network.
WashU (20-5, 11-3 UAA) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the 22nd University Athletic Association (UAA) title in school history. The Bears are making their 28th overall and 27th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance under 30-year head coach Nancy Fahey. WashU owns a Division III-best 65-24 record in its previous 27 appearances, including 10 Final Fours and five National Championships. This marks the 19th time in school history the Bears have hosted a first-round game, and the second year in a row.
WashU's first-round opponent, Greenville, is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Panthers (20-7, 14-4 SLIAC) claimed the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championship with a 66-63 win over Westminster College (Mo.) Saturday to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The series between WashU and Greenville is 5-5 all-time, and this will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1990.
The Panthers enter the NCAA Tournament riding a seven-game winning streak, and rank sixth in NCAA Division III in three-point percentage (36.8) and seventh in field-goal percentage (45.4). Junior guard Taylor Paulin is second in NCAA Division III shooting 48.6 percent from beyond the arc, while senior forward Coley Baker is sixth in the country with an average of 3.67 blocked shots per game. Four players are averaging double-digit scoring for Greenville – Baker (11.4), senior forward Missy Deal (11.0), sophomore forward Laura Goodnight (10.9) and Paulin (10.8). Baker was named to the All-SLIAC First Team and the All-Defensive Team, while Deal was an All-SLIAC Third-Team selection.
Bluffton (25-2, 16-2 HCAC) defeated Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 52-46 to claim its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) tournament title. The Beavers will make their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after earning the HCAC's automatic bid. WashU and Bluffton have played once previously, a 71-59 win for the Bears Dec. 30, 2010.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (19-7, 8-6 WIAC) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after falling to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 69-59 in the first round of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) tournament Feb. 23. The Warhawks are making their 15th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and have a 25-14 record in their previous 14 trips. UW-Whitewater finished as the 2013 NCAA Division III runner-up, and also advanced to the Final Four in 2008 and 2014, finishing third each of those years. A meeting between WashU and UW-Whitewater would be the first in program history.