20th annual State Farm-NAIA Div. II Women's Basketball National Championship

Posted Online: March 08, 2011, 7:51 pm
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Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com
- Tonight: The St. Ambrose Queen Bees (28-4) will take on the Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio) Cougars (21-8) at 5:15 in the single-elimination tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. SAU is the No. 3 seed in the eight-team bracket and MVNU is seeded No. 8. The winner will face either No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan (27-5) or No. 7 Cornerstone (Mich.) (22-9) on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Tuning in: All SAU tournament games may be heard at 106.1-FM on the radio dial, online at www.kalafm.org, or through GameCentral on the SAU athletics website at www.sau.edu/athletics.

- Rankings: SAU, which has been in the rankings all season, checked in at No. 10 in the final poll. MVNU jumped into the rankings for the first time, now at No. 24.

- How they got here: SAU, the Midwest Collegiate Conference regular-season champ, won the MCC's automatic berth into the tourney by virtue of a 79-72 MCC Tournamenttitle-game victory over William Penn. MVNU is one of four teams from the American Mideast Conference in the national tournament – all of them ranked in the Top 25.

- Tournament history: The Queen Bees are making their 16th national tournament appearance – first since back-to-back trips in 2007 & 2008 -- and have a 14-15 record. MVNU is making its national tourney debut.

- SAU starters: F: Ali Dolphin, 5-9, Sr. (15.6 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game) & Kayla Sanborn, 5-10, Fr. (3.8, 3.0); C: Megan Storjohann, 6-0, Jr. (5.2, 4.7); G: Ashley Dexter, 5-4, Soph. (6.5, 2.9) & Mollie Yeargle, 5-7, Jr. (7.5, 1.5).

- MVNU starters: F: Alexis Harkins, 5-10, Jr. (11.6, 5.9) & Whitney Levering, 6-0, Jr. (5.5, 4.9); C: Amanda Himes, 6-1, Sr. (18.3, 11.8); G: Sierra Fletcher, 5-5, Jr. (13.1, 2.9) & Lauren Johnson, 5-4, Sr. (10.5, 1.8).

- By the numbers: SAU is averaging 67.7 points per game and allowing 56.8. MVNU is averaging 77.4 ppg (12th-best in the country) and allowing 62.8. ... SAU is outrebounding foes 41.4-37.3; the Cougars are outrebounding foes 43.5-39.4. The Queen Bees have hit 208 3-pointers (56 by senior Megan Cash and 54 by junior Annie Smith, both coming in off the bench). The Cougars have made 215 3-pointers, led by Fletcher (48), Johnson (45) and senior reserve guard Kelli Pollock (43).

- Coaches comments: "They have a pretty decent post (Himes) who is their leading scorer and rebounder, so we're going to have to control her. We have to play St. Ambrose basketball and bring our defense (which is ranked No. 5 in NAIA play). I think that will be a key. Until you see our defense, you don't know how good it is. I think we can catch a lot of people by surprise with it.'' -- SAU coach Krista Van Hauen

-- By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com



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