FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University women’s basketball team learned Sunday night that it has earned a second straight bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament, and that the Patriots will be the fourth seed in the Southeast Regional to be played in Hickory, N.C., on Friday, Saturday, and Monday (March 13, 14, 16). The three-day regional will be hosted by Lenoir-Rhyne College in its 3,200-seast Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.
The 64-team field announced on Sunday night included 22 automatic qualifiers and 42 at-large selections. Winners of each of the eight regionals will advance to San Antonio, Texas, for the Elite Eight on March 24, 25 and 27.
Francis Marion, which won the Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship and lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Saturday, owns a 25-4 record and will face the fifth seed, USC Aiken (22-11), on Friday at a time yet to be determined (to be announced on Monday).
FMU is making is second straight appearance in the national tournament under second-year head coach Heather Macy, and the program’s seventh 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. Last year, FMU hosted the regional as the sixth seed.
In addition to FMU and USCA, the other teams in the Southeast Regional are No. 1 seed Lenior-Rhyne (26-4), No. 2 seed Tusculum College (25-5), No. 3 seed Clayton State University (23-6), No. 7 seed Lander University (20-10), and No.8 seed Anderson University (18-12).
Four first-round games will be played on Friday (March 13). The semifinals will be played on Saturday (March 14), with the championship game set for Monday (March 16) evening.
Should Francis Marion win its first game, the Patriots would face the Lenoir-Rhyne/Anderson winner in the semifinals.
FMU owns a 4-3 record against the other teams in the regional, including a season split with USCA – where each team won on its home floor.
Francis Marion, the nation’s top scoring team at 88 points per game, is led by a pair of All-Conference performers: senior point guard Kevina Ransom (9.6 ppg, 5.0 apg) and sophomore guard-forward Shannon Singleton-Bates (12.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Macy has named the PBC’s “Coach of the Year” each of the past two seasons.
The three automatic berths in the Southeast Region were secured by Lenoir-Rhyne (winner of the South Atlantic Conference Tournament), Anderson (Conference Carolinas Tournament champion), and Lander (Peach Belt Conference Tournament winner).
NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament Southeast Regional
Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC (3,200-seat Shuford Memorial Gymnasium)
FRIDAY (March 13) First-Round Games
Tusculum College (25-5) v. Lander University (20-10)
Clayton State University (23-6) v. Carson-Newman College (19-10)
Francis Marion University (25-4) v. USC Aiken (22-11)
Lenoir-Rhyne College (26-4) v. Anderson University (18-12)
SATURDAY (March 14)
MONDAY (March 16)