Five PBC Women’s Basketball Teams Earn NCAA Tournament Berths
INDIANAPOLIS, IND – Five Peach Belt Conference women’s basketball teams learned that they have earned spots in the NCAA National Tournament as the 64-team field was announced on Sunday night. Clayton State, the #1-ranked team in the nation, will host the eight-team Southeast Regional beginning this Friday, March 11, at the Athletic and Fitness Center on the Morrow, Ga., campus. The Lakers are the top seed for the regional while Lander is second, USC Aiken third and Georgia College fourth. Francis Marion also makes the field as the eighth-seeded team.
The five PBC teams competing for a national championship is a tie for the most teams ever. In 2004, five PBC teams were also named to the regional.
Clayton State will host for the second time in school history, the first coming in 2007. Tthis marks an unprecedented seventh straight bid to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament – the most consecutive NCAA Division II women’s basketball appearances by a Peach Belt Conference team. Clayton State advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007 and 2009.
Lander will make their fourth straight trip to the NCAA’s as the second seed. The Bearcats are ranked #4 in the nation and were ranked #1 for five straight weeks. Lander fell in the semifinals of the PBC Tournament on Saturday, but reached the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Regional which was held in Greenwood.
GC capped off an unbelievable season rattling off seven wins and capturing the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament Championship Title. The Bobcats upended No. 4 Lander University in the semifinals, 71-62 and then defeated No. 12 USC Aiken in the championship bout, 62-49. GC returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.
USC Aiken will be making its fourth appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament overall. The Pacers have now made the field in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2011. USC Aiken begins the 2011 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional owning a school-record 26-5 mark in the 2010-11 season. The Pacers have won 21 of their last 24 games. The Pacers had a 10-game winning streak snapped in Sunday's Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game loss to Georgia College. The Pacers are still searching for their first ever victory in the NCAA Tournament.
FMU is making its fourth straight appearance in the national tournament and the program's ninth appearance overall since moving to NCAA affiliation in 1992. The Patriots earned invitations for five consecutive years between 1997 and 2001, reaching the round of Sweet Sixteen in four straight years (1998-2001) and making the 1998 Final Four. In 2008, FMU hosted the regional as the sixth seed, and in 2010 the Patriots again reached the Sweet Sixteen as the fourth seed in the Southeast. Last year as the third seed, FMU advanced to the round of 32.
Game times will be announced later in the week. The winner of the Southeast Regional will join the seven other regional champions at the 2011 NCAA Division II Women’s “Elite Eight” in St. Joseph, Mo., on March 22-25.
Friday, March 11
#1 Clayton State vs. #8 Francis Marion
#2 Lander vs. #7 Wingate
#3 USC Aiken vs. #6 Tusculum
#4 Georgia College vs. #5 Barton
Saturday, March 12
Monday, March 14