Trojans Earn No. 8 Seed In Southeast Regional - Face Nationally Top-Ranked Clayton State In Opening Round
Mount Olive is the No. 8 seed and will face top-seeded, nationally top-ranked and undefeated Clayton State in the first round of the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship Friday at Morrow, Ga. Clayton State is the host school for the eight-team regional.
The fields for each of the eight regionals were announced Sunday during the NCAA II Women's Basketball Championship Selection Show. Game times for the first round have not yet been announced.
Mount Olive is making its second NCAA II Women's Basketball Tournament appearance. The Trojans were the No. 8 seed in the East Regional of the 2008 NCAA II Championship.
Mount Olive (18-11) earned an automatic bid to the regional by winning the Conference Carolinas championship. The Trojans defeated Pfeiffer 79-74 in overtime Sunday in the championship game at Misenheimer, N.C. The win was Mount Olive's third straight road win in the conference tournament after wins at Coker and nationally eighth-ranked Limestone in the first two rounds.
The Trojans were 0-6 against their conference tournament opponents during the regular season.
Mount Olive's first-round contest in the Southeast Regional will be its fourth consecutive post-season game on its opponent's home floor. The game is Mount Olive's second in three games in the post-season against a national top 10 team and the first in program history against a team ranked No. 1.
Trojan head coach Wendy Lee feels that the team's experience in the conference tournament will help the team keep its composure in the regional.
"The team wasn't intimidated on the road in conference tournament," said Lee. "We went into the conference tournament with an attitude of nothing to lose and I feel like we won't be intimidated at the regional."
Clayton State (29-0) defeated North Georgia 81-54 in the final of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Sunday. The Lakers won the national championship in 2011.
Mount Olive is among four Conference Carolinas teams to earn bids to the regionals. Even before the regional pairings were announced, Lee noted the strength of the conference this season.
"The conference may have been the strongest this year," said Lee. "There were a lot of strong teams and a lot of outstanding players."
Limestone earned the No. 2 seed and will face seventh-seeded Barton in the first round. Pfeiffer received the No. 6 seed and will take on third-seeded and former Conference Carolinas member Anderson, which won the South Atlantic Conference championship Sunday. No. 4 seed Lenoir-Rhyne and No. 5 seed USC Aiken round out the field.
The Trojans hope for a bit of deja vu: Mount Olive defeated top-seeded and tournament host Indiana (Pa.) 62-56 in the first round of the 2008 NCAA II East Regional.
Friday's first-round winners advance to the semifinal round Saturday. The regional championship is slated for next Monday, with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight March 26-29 at San Antonio, Texas.