The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 13, 2013

5 MIAA teams await basketball regional openers

Rivals Washburn and Emporia State are preparing for their third women’s basketball meeting in as many weeks.

Washburn is the host and top seed for the NCAA Division II Central Regional women’s basketball tournament. The Lady Blues play eighth-seeded Emporia State in a first-round game at 6 p.m.

Washburn won a home nonconference game in January, but the Lady Hornets prevailed at home on Feb. 28 and in the postseason tournament semifinals last Saturday night. Emporia State then beat Central Missouri in the title game to earn the league’s automatic regional berth.

Other games on Friday pit third-seeded Concordia-St. Paul vs. Augustana at noon, No. 2 Central Missouri vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. and No. 4 Minnesota State vs. Arkansas Tech at 8.

Central Missouri is seeded fourth and Northeastern State seventh in the men’s Central Regional, which starts Saturday in Mankato, Minn.

Quarterfinal pairings have No. 3 Augustana vs. Upper Iowa at noon, No. 2 Winona State vs. Northeastern State at 2:30 p.m., No. 1 Minnesota State vs. Arkansas Tech at 5 and Central Missouri vs. Harding at 7:30.

The Mules shared the conference regular-season title and then won the postseason tournament by beating Northwest Missouri State 79-76 in overtime.

Northeastern State got a regional bid despite two losses to Northwest Missouri State — one in the regular season and one in the postseason tournament quarterfinals during the Bearcats’ run to the championship game.

However, losses to Missouri Western, Truman State and Lincoln hurt the Bearcats more than the two wins over NSU helped them.

MIAA regular season co-champion Fort Hays State also was left out of the regional field. The Tigers (20-8, 13-5 MIAA) were omitted while two 11-loss teams were selected — Upper Iowa of the Northern Sun Conference and Arkansas Tech, which finished in a three-way tie for the Great American Conference title at 13-7.

Closer to Joplin, the men’s Midwest Regional will be played in Springfield at Drury University’s O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Saturday’s quarterfinal games: No. 3 Bellarmine vs. Indianapolis at noon, No. 2 Southern Indiana vs. Wayne State (Neb.) at 2:30 p.m., No. 1 Drury vs. Findlay at 6 and No. 4 Michigan Tech vs. Wisconsin-Parkside at 8:30.

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