HPU women, Dixie State & BYU-Hawaii men, begin NCAA II journey
SEATTLE, WA & BELLINGHAM, WA – Three Pacific West Conference basketball teams will c onverge on two locations in western Washington this week to begin their sojourn into the NCAA II Basketball post-season.
The eyes of Oahu will be focused on the Hawai‘i Pacific women’s basketball team and the BYU-Hawaii men’s squad when they kickoff their respective 64-team fields with a pair of games on Friday, March 12. The BYU-Hawaii men have been in the post-season many times, including nine during their 12 seasons as an NCAA II program.
The Sea Warrior women, however, have become the first NCAA Division II program in Hawai‘i to be listed in the women’s bracket.
In St. George, Utah, the followers of the Dixie State men’s basketball team will be rev up as the Red Storm blows into Washington for its inaugural post-season appearance as an NCAA Division II team.
As the #8 seed in the NCAA II Women’s West Region bracket, Hawai‘i Pacific will face host and #1 seed Seattle Pacific on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (PST). This marks the third straight year that the Falcons have hosted the West Regional.
Seattle Pacific (24-3/15-1 GNAC) clinched the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship on March 7 with a 67-60 victory at Alaska Anchorage, while HPU (18-6/14-2 PacWest) knokced off BYU-Hawaii on Monday evening to claim the PacWest title outright. This is SPU's 14th straight trip to the NCAA tourney and its 15th in the past 16 years.
All games in the women’s regional will be played at the Royal Brougham Pavilion. First-round contests match No. 3 seed Western Washington against No. 6 Chico State, No. 2 UC San Diego against No. 7 Humboldt State, and No. 4 Alaska Anchorage against No. 5 Cal Poly Pomona.
If the Sea Warriors win, HPU will then take on the survivor of Alaska Anchorage-Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday at either 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the championship game slated for Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m. The Elite Eight is scheduled for March 23, 24 and 26 in St. Joseph, MO.
Western Washington University in Bellingham will serve as host of the Division II Men’s West Regional also beginning Friday. The games will be played on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
BYU-Hawaii will jumpstart the tournament by taking on Seattle Pacific (22-5) at 12:30 p.m. (PST). The Seasiders are the sixth seed in the regional but their ranking may be deceptive.
After being plagued by injuries throughout the early and mid-part of the 2009-10 campaign, BYU-Hawaii surged to a 13-game winning streak and claimed a share of the PacWest Championship on Monday night by knocking off Hawai‘i Pacific in the regular-season finale. The Seasiders, who won the title outright last year, shared this season’s championship with Dixie State and claimed the automatic qualifier ontiebreakers.
If BYU-Hawaii wins, the Seasiders will take on the winner of No.2 seed Cal State San Bernardino (22-7) and No.7 seed Humboldt State (22-7) on Saturday at 5 p.m.
The championship will be held Monday at 7 p.m. and is the only game where BYU-Hawaii and Dixie State could meet for the third time this season.
The Red Storm earned its first trip to the NCAA II post-season by compiling a 20-5 overall record and a 14-2 mark in the PacWest. Dixie State shared the conference championship with BYU-Hawaii – its first since joining the PacWest.
As the #5 seed, the Red Storm will tackle reigning West Region Champion and #4 seed Cal Poly Pomona (22-6) at 5:30 p.m. (PST). If Dixie State wins, the Red Storm will battle the winner of top-seed Western Washington (25-5) or #8 seed Central Washington (16-10) on Saturday at 7 p.m. (PST).
The regional champion advances to the NCAA II Elite Eight in Springfield, MA, March 24, 25 and 27.