The NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament trail will take the Hope College Flying Dutch to Eau Claire, Wisc. for sectional competition on Friday and Saturday (March 14-15).
The four-team sectional tournament will feature squads from Michigan, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. They will be seeking to advance to the final four to be held the weekend of March 21-22 in Terre Haute, Ind.
For the second consecutive year, the Flying Dutch (30-0) will meet the Wilmington, Ohio Quakers (25-2) in the sectional semi-finals. Tipoff will be 5 p.m. CST (6 p.m. in Michigan).
It will be followed by a game between the host Eau Claire Blugolds (29-1) and Pacific Lutheran Lutes of Tacoma, Wash. (21-7) at 7:15 p.m. CST (8:15 p.m. Michigan time). Saturday's sectional championship will begin at 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. Michigan time).
The W.L. Zorn Arena where the games will be played seats 2,200. All seats will be general admission. A single day ticket will cost $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for youth and children. Two-day tickets will cost $10 for adults and $8 for all others.
The Hope action can be heard on WYVN-FM (92.7) and over the internet at www.hope.edu.
Hope is making its third straight appearance in the Division III playoffs and the seventh in school history. The 1990 Flying Dutch were national champions.
Three of the four teams have been ranked nationally throughout the season. The most recent USA Today/WBCA Division III poll ranks Eau Claire second behind Hardin-Simmons, Tex. while Hope is ranked third and Wilmington sixth. The current d3hoops.com poll puts Eau Claire at number one, Hope two and Wilmington five. Pacific Lutheran received honorable mention recognition in both polls.
Eau Claire, Wisc. is located approximately 90 miles east of Minneapolis, Minn. Part of the Wisconsin public university system, Eau Claire has an enrollment of 10,600 students.
Appearing in the Division III championships for the 13th time since 1989 and for the 11th consecutive year, the Blugolds have two tournament victories this season, 70-49 over Wisconsin Lutheran and 81-45 over Chapman, Calif.
Wilmington, which defeated OAC conference rival Baldwin-Wallace 74-63 to advance to the sectional tournament, is appearing in the NCAA playoffs for the third time. Last year the Quakers defeated the Flying Dutch 89-81 in a sectional semi-final game played at Wilmington. The Quakers lost to DePauw, Ind. in the sectional finals 88-70.
The Lutes of Pacific Lutheran are appearing in the Division III tournament for the fourth time in five years. A year ago the Lutes lost in the Sectional finals to Wisc.-Stevens Point, 64-47. Pacific Lutheran University has an enrollment of 3,500 students. The Lutes were champions of the Northwest Conference.