Saints Headed to NCAA Tournament


ST. LOUIS- The Maryville University women’s basketball team (22-5 overall) will face the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (22-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 6, in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Tournament. The tournament will be held at Stevens Point. In the Feb. 24 Top 25 poll, the Pointers were ranked No. 7 in the country.

If the Saints post a victory Friday night, the team will play again in the Second Round of the tournament at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 7.

“We are looking forward to the challenge ahead,” said eighth-year head coach Chris Ellis.

The Saints qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament when the team won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Conference (SLIAC) tournament title in an 83-59 victory against Fontbonne University, Saturday in Moloney Arena. Maryville will make its fourth consecutive appearance in the Big Dance and are 1-4 all-time in the NCAA tournament. Maryville advanced as far as the second round in 2006.

The Saints recorded their sixth consecutive undefeated conference season and also had a 20-plus win regular season for the sixth straight year.

“The Maryville women’s basketball program, under Coach Chris Ellis’ leadership, continue to impress the Saints nation with the model of consistency they provide year in and year out,” said Tony Duckworth, Maryville’s director of athletics. “The Saints will represent Maryville well in the NCAAs.”

Maryville is led by senior Sara Wemlinger (Bloomington, Ill.) with her average of 11.4 points per game. Fellow senior Allie Wilhelm (Wildwood, Mo.) follows closely behind with her 11.2 points per contest and leads the squad with 5.9 rebounds per game.

UW-Stevens Point won its second consecutive WIAC Tournament Championship as it defeated No. 12 UW-Eau Claire 46-42 Saturday, to advance to the NCAA tournament and are led by Britta Petersen’s 14.0 points per game. Petersen ranks as No. 19 individually in field goal percentage (57.07 percent) among all DIII women’s basketball players in the nation.

The two other teams in the Stevens Point regional are Concordia-Moorehead (Minn.) and Concordia (Wis.). The Cobbers are 19-8 on the year and received one of 20 at-large bids. The Falcons (23-3) defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 69-65 in overtime to qualify for the Big Dance.

The 2008 defending National Champions Howard Payne, were placed in No. 8 Washington University’s (St. Louis) regional and will face Transylvania in the First Round.

Saints fans can watch the game via live stats.