KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 7, 2018) – (Bracket | Video Announcement | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32 qualifiers and bracket for the 38th annual NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo. The event returns to Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings, Mont., March 14 – 20.
This year's field consists of 14 automatic berths, 17 at-large selections and championship host Rocky Mountain (Mont.). Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, regular-season runners-up, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 poll released today, which can be found HERE.
Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) will make its seventh consecutive national tournament appearance, this year as the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up. The Saints, 23-9, placed second in the regular season and in the tournament to league champion LSU-Shreveport.
The Saints are set to play Loyola University New Orleans on Thursday, March 15 at 9 a.m. The team finished out their season with a 25-5 record and they captured the Southern States Athletic Conference Championship.
The Saints and the Wolf Pack have played each other twice, first in 2010 when the Saints lost 45-64. In 2014, the teams met up at the Sweet 16 Round of the National Tournament, and the Wolf Pack won 72-67.
Head Coach Christopher Minner commented, "We're excited to be returning to the tournament. It should be a good game between us and Loyola. We just need to play our game and we should be fine. We just have to win and advance. Our schedule has prepared us for this tournament."
For more information on the 2018 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, CLICK HERE.
- There are no unbeaten teams at this year's championship. The closest is LSU Shreveport with only one loss on the season.
- Campbellsville holds the longest active appearance streak in Division I women's basketball with 26 appearances. Wayland Baptist follows with 25 appearances.
- There are only four teams that have won a national championship in this year's field: MidAmerica Nazarene, Oklahoma City, Vanguard and Westmont.
- The only team in the field to win back-to-back titles was Oklahoma City.
- The 2017 Champion, Oklahoma City returns to the 2018 national championship looking for its 10th title.
- Three semifinalists are back from the 2017 championship: Campbellsville, Vanguard and Oklahoma City.
- There are 23 teams that competed in the 2017 national championship and return in 2018.
- There are five teams in the field that have 20 or more tournament appearances: Campbellsville, Wayland Baptist, Oklahoma City, Freed-Hardeman, and Vanguard.
- Arizona Christian, Grand View and Menlo qualified for the first time in program history. All three teams were at-large berths.
- Rocky Mountain boasts its third appearance. Two of the three tournament appearances have been host bids.
- The Heart of America and Golden State Athletic Conferences each boast five programs in the 2018 field.
2018 Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Season Record||Appearances||Last Time|
|Carroll||Frontier Conference Tournament Champion||24-7||9||2016|
|Central Methodist||Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular-Season and Tournament Champion||26-7||4||2017|
|Columbia||American Midwest Conference Regular Season & Tournament Champion||28-5||14||2017|
|Dillard||Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||23-5||7||2004|
|Freed-Hardeman||American Midwest Conference Tournament Runner-up||29-4||22||2017|
|Loyola||Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||24-5||10||2017|
|LSU-Shreveport||Red River Athletic Conference Regular-Season and Tournament Champion||31-1||8||2017|
|Martin Methodist||Southern States Regular-Season Champion||26-7||4||2017|
|Oklahoma City||Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||28-5||23||2017|
|Our Lady of the Lake||Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-up||23-9||7||2017|
|Rocky Mountain||Host Bid||23-8||3||2017|
|Science & Arts||Sooner Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||28-5||3||2008|
|Shawnee State||Mid-South Tournament Champion||30-3||8||2017|
|Westmont||Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||22-6||13||2017|
|William Penn||Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-up||23-8||2||2017|