(New Orleans, La) Entering the tournament as the No. 6 seed, the No. 22 Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team will square off against the No. 3 seed Montana State University-Northern in the opening round of the 2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo.
The Wolf Pack (26-6) will take on No. 11 MSU-Northern (23-8) on Thursday, March 16, at 8:00 p.m. MT at the Rimrock Auto Arena at Metrapark in Billings, Montana.
Coming out of the Frontier Conference, the Skylights are making its 14th appearance in the national tournament and head to Billings with a 10-13 record in the big dance. MSU-Northern won the NAIA Division II National Championship in 1993. The Skylights rank third in the NAIA in total rebound defense and fourth in scoring defense per game while featuring the Frontier Conference’s leading scorer in Natalee Faupel (17.37 points per game).
After recording a program-record 25 wins in the regular season, the Wolf Pack are heading the NAIA DI National Championship for the fourth-straight year. Under the tutelage of the 2017 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Head Coach of the Year Kellie Kennedy, Loyola has been to the national tournament eight times and carry a 2-7 record at the event.
The Wolf Pack leads the country in total rebound offense (1502) while ranking third in defensive rebounds per game (30.625) and fourth in both total rebounds per game (46.938) and field goal percentage defense (0.334). Loyola’s three SSAC First Team All-Conference selections in 2016-17 were the most by any team in the league and senior forward Meghan Temple (SR/Houston, Texas) headlined the group.
An absolute force for the Wolf Pack all season, Temple recently became the first Loyola women’s basketball player (and just second in Wolf Pack basketball history) to record at least 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in a career. The Houston native heads to Billings ranked fifth in the NAIA with 4.2 offensive rebounds per game and ninth in total rebounds (297).
With the Wolf Pack men’s team also making the NAIA DI National Championship, 2016-17 marks the first time in Loyola history that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for the national tournament in the same season.
Additional Championship Information
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast the first 30 games leading up to the championship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95.