By Nikki Sherrill, Athletics Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket | Video Announcement | Championship Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32 qualifiers and bracket for the 26th annual NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship, presented by Mercy Medical Center and Seaboard Triumph Foods. The event will be held in Sioux City, Iowa, for the 20th-straight season – the longest streak of any current championship host – at the Tyson Events Center from March 8 – 14.
The field is made up of 22 automatic berths and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the conference. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today. For that release, click here.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will video-stream the first 28 games live leading up to the semifinals and final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
• No. 1 overall seed St. Francis (lll.) owns the most wins in the NAIA at 31-1. St. Francis suffered its first loss of the season in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) championship game against Saint Xavier (Ill.). The Fighting Saints have been ranked No. 1 for the past six polls, including coming in at the top spot in the final NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
• The defending national champs, Marian (Ind.), won the Crossroads League regular-season and conference tournament. At 30-3, the Knights are looking to repeat as national champions for the first time since Morningside (Iowa) did it in 2004-2005.
• Southeastern (Fla.) comes into the championship as the lone unbeaten at 26-0. The Fire won the regular-season and conference tournament for The Sun Conference.
• Only IU Kokomo (Ind.) is making its first-ever appearance in the field of 32. The Cougars earned an automatic berth out of the River States Conference and hold a 21-12 overall record.
• Northwestern (Iowa) has posted five previous national titles – the most amongst the field. Morningside (4), Hastings (Neb.) (3), Saint Francis (Ind.) (1) and Marian (1) are the only other qualifiers to have earned a red banner.
• Within the group of 31 teams making a previous appearance, 22 teams are back from the 2016 field. Indiana Tech breaks a 22-year drought, with its last appearance coming in 1995. 2011 is the next farthest appearance year, with IU Northwest (Ind.) back after six years.
• College of the Ozarks (Mo.), earning an automatic berth out of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.), is punching its ticket to a NAIA-record 23rd overall championship. This year also marks the 16th-straight postseason for the Bobcats.
• Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) ties College of the Ozarks by making its 16th-consecutive trip, and Morningside is close behind with 15-straight.
• Overall, four teams are making their 10th-or-better appearance.
• Northwestern leads the active list with 46 championship wins, followed by College of the Ozarks (40), Hastings (35), Morningside (34) and Saint Francis (34).
• The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference each boast five programs in the 2017 field, the most of any league.
• Three of the Top 10 Winningest Coaches will be on the sidelines for the 2017 event. Coming into the 2016-17 season, Jamie Sale of Morningside had the third-most wins at 499, followed by Rich Aubrey from Milligan (Tenn.) with 440, and Saint Xavier (Ill.) head coach Bob Hallberg who started the new season at 415.
2017 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Qualifiers
|Team Name||Qualification||2017 Record||Appearances||Tour. Record||Last Time||Titles|
|Bryan (Tenn.)||Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||18-14||6||1-5||2015||0|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||At-Large Berth No. 3||24-6||21||16-20||2016||0|
|College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion||26-4||23||40-22||2016||0|
|Concordia (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||31-2||16||22-15||2016||0|
|Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||26-6||5||11-4||2016||0|
|Davenport (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||30-3||13||18-12||2016||0|
|Dickinson State (N.D.)||At-Large Berth No. 5||23-7||5||4-4||2016||0|
|Eastern Oregon||Cascade Collegiate Conference Regular-Season Champion||28-4||10||5-9||2015||0|
|Friends (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||27-5||9||1-8||2016||0|
|Hastings (Neb.)||At-Large Berth No. 4||22-9||17||35-13||2016||3|
|IU East (Ind.)||River States Conference Tournament Champion||28-5||2||0-1||2016||0|
|IU Kokomo (Ind.)||River States Conference Tournament Runner-Up||21-12||1||0-0||N/A||0|
|IU Northwest (Ind.)||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Runner-Up||25-6||3||0-2||2011||0|
|Indiana Tech||At-Large Berth No. 2||25-7||5||3-4||1995||0|
|Jamestown (N.D.)||North Star Athletic Association Tournament Champion||25-5||9||6-8||2016||0|
|Marian (Ind.)||Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion||30-3||4||6-2||2016||1|
|Milligan (Tenn.)||Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||23-9||7||2-6||2016||0|
|Morningside (Iowa)||At-Large Berth No. 1||23-8||15||34-11||2016||4|
|Northwestern (Iowa)||At-Large Berth No. 7||19-11||15||46-9||2015||5|
|Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||At-Large Berth No. 10||20-11||6||4-5||2016||0|
|Oregon Tech||At-Large Berth No. 6||24-8||5||1-4||2016||0|
|Purdue Northwest (Ind.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Third-Place Finisher||24-8||5||2-4||2016||0|
|Reinhardt (Ga.)||At-Large Berth No. 9||27-5||2||0-1||2013||0|
|Saint Francis (Ind.)||Crossroads League Tournament Runner-Up||18-15||17||34-15||2015||1|
|Saint Xavier (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference South Regular-Season Champion||30-2||5||2-4||2016||0|
|Siena Heights (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||24-9||4||2-3||2015||0|
|Southeastern (Fla.)||The Sun Conference Tournament Champion||26-0||3||0-2||2016||0|
|Southern Oregon||Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament Runner-Up||27-4||10||9-10||2016||0|
|St. Francis (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference North Regular-Season Champion||31-1||2||0-1||2016||0|
|Tabor (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||26-6||8||7-7||2016||0|
|UC-Merced (Calif.)||California Pacific Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||17-11||3||0-2||2016||0|
|Valley City State (N.D.)||At-Large Berth No. 8||24-8||4||0-3||2013||0|
^ According to team’s information on DakStats