COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Chipola Lady Indians have earned an at-large bid to play in the Women’s Basketball National Tournament in Salina, Kansas.
Chipola (25-6) will play Southwest Illinois (25-5) Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. (CST). A win would pit the Lady Indians against the winner of Southern Idaho and Central Arizona in a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday, March 20.
The Lady Indians finished second in the FCSAA Florida/Region VIII Tournament on March 9, losing 61-53 to state champion Gulf Coast in the title game. Chipola made it to the championship game with a 72-52 win over Northwest Florida State who also earned an at-large bid in the national tournament. The Lady Indians beat Florida State College 62-55 in the opening round of the state tournament.
The Lady Indians finished the regular season third in the Panhandle Conference under first year head coach Greg Franklin. Gulf Coast and Northwest were conference co-champions.
Franklin came to Chipola after serving five seasons as an assistant coach in the Mississippi State University women’s basketball program where he was instrumental in helping Mississippi State claim back-to-back year wins in the NCAA Tournament, including the program's first Sweet 16 appearance. Before Mississippi State, Franklin served at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois, as athletic director, head women’s coach and assistant men's coach.
Chipola and Northwest are both beneficiaries of the NJCAA’s change to an expanded tournament bracket which now includes four at-large teams, four ‘zone’ qualifiers and 16 district champions. The 24-team seeded tournament will be played at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kansas.
The national title game will be played on Saturday, March 23. Tournament games will be aired live on NJCAA TV. Visit www.njcaa.org/newsArticle.cfm?articleId=19118