Flying Queens California-bound for NAIA Nationals
LUBBOCK, TX (NEWS RELEASE) - The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens will face Southern Oregon in Santa Barbara, Calif., in the Opening Round of the 42nd annual NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championships.
The Queens (21-10), ranked the equivalent of 35th in the NAIA, are seeded 10th in their quadrant while the Raiders of Southern Oregon (23-7), ranked the equivalent of 28th, is seeded seventh. The game will take place at 5:30 p.m. (7:30 Central) Tuesday, March 7.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the Flying Queens and Southern Oregon.
Southern Oregon is a member of the Cascade Conference where the Raiders went 18-4. They lost to 10th-ranked Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) for the third time this season in the conference tournament semifinals, 80-69.
Southern Oregon opened the season by beating No. 4 Carroll (Mont), 51-47. Since then, the Raiders have faced and lost to five Top 25 teams, including another Opening Round team in Santa Barbara, Westmont (Calif.), 57-40.
Southern Oregon averages 65.3 points per game and is led in scoring Kami Walk, a junior forward averaging 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds, and Brianna Phiakhamngon, a senior guard averaged 12.7 ppg.
The Wayland-Southern Oregon winner will advance to the Opening Round final on March 8 against a California team, the winner between sixth-ranked, second-seeded Westmont (23-3) or 15th-seeded Antelope Valley (23-8). Westmont won the national title in 2021.
Wayland and Westmont have faced three times, with Westmont winning all three, most recently when the Flying Queens played in California in 2018. The Queens have never faced Antelope Valley.
This marks the ninth straight year the Flying Queens have qualified for the national tournament and the 30th overall, one behind Campbellsville (Ky.) for most appearances among teams in the field. Southern Oregon is making its 13th appearance, Westmont its 18th and Antelope Valley its fourth.
Wayland won nine straight games before falling to Southwestern Christian in the championship of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament, 70-60.
The Opening Round champion will advance to the final site, presented by Bomgaars and Sterling, in Sioux City, Iowa, along with 15 other Opening Round winners. The 42nd annual championship takes place at the Tyson Events Center March 13-18.
The first-round field includes 38 automatic qualifiers and 26 at-large selections. Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship, finished runner-up at the conference tournament, or were the third regular-season finisher. The at-large bids were determined by the Women’s Basketball National Selection Committee, which consists of one representative from each geographical area and six at-large members consisting of coaches and administrators from around the country. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.
All first and second round games will be streamed by the host.
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