NAIA DI WBB TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: No. 6 seed Loyola vs. No. 3 seed Montana State-Northern

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NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo
Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark | Billings, Mont.
March 15-21, 2017

No. 3 seed Montana State-Northern (23-8) vs. No. 6 seed Loyola University New Orleans (26-6) | March 16 | 9:00 PM CST

LIVE COVERAGE
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. Live updates will also be available on the official Twitter feed of Loyola Athletics (@loyolawolfpack) and on the new Loyola Wolf Pack app.

STORYLINES
The No. 6 seed Wolf Pack will be making its fourth-straight appearance in the NAIA DI National Championship.
This will be Loyola’s ninth overall trip to the national tournament and the seventh under the direction of head coach Kellie Kennedy.
The Wolf Pack heads to Billings with a 4-8 record in the Big Dance and having won at least two games on two separate occasions.

SCOUTING THE NO. 6 SEED WOLF PACK
Loyola enters the national tournament at 26-6 overall.
The Wolf Pack’s 25 regular season wins were the most in program history.
Loyola won its second Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular-season title in 2016-17 and featured a league-best three players (Meghan Temple (SR/Houston, Texas), Di’Mond Jackson (JR/Baton Rouge, La.) and Zoie Miller (JR/Frisco, Texas)) named First Team All-SSAC.
In her ninth season at the helm, head coach Kellie Kennedy was tabbed the 2017 SSAC Coach of the Year.
The Wolf Pack is ranked No. 22 in the NAIA.

SCOUTING THE NO. 3 SEED MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN UNIVERSITY
Coming out of the Frontier Conference, the Skylights head to Billings as the No. 11 ranked team in the country.
MSUN advanced to the Frontier Conference championship game where it fell to top-seeded Lewis-Clark State 57-50.
The Skylights are making their 14th appearance in the national tournament and carry a 10-13 overall record in the Big Dance.

LOYOLA VS. THE FRONTIER CONFERENCE
This will be the third time that Loyola has faced a school out of the Frontier Conference in the national championship.
The Wolf Pack squared off against Lewis-Clark State in 2011-12, dropping the 74-63 decision to the Warriors in Jackson, Tenn.
Loyola also battled Great Falls in 2014-15 and lost 73-54 in Frankfort, Ky.

PROFESSIONAL GLASS CLEANERS
Loyola enters Thursday’s game as the top offensive rebounding team in the country with 1502 offensive boards thus far.
The Wolf Pack’s 30.62 defensive rebounds per game are the third most in the NAIA and its 46.93 total rebounds per game puts Loyola at No. 4 in the country.
Loyola’s 34 offensive rebounds against Coastal Georgia on Jan. 28 were the most by any team in the SSAC this season. The Wolf Pack ended that game with a season-high 71 boards.

CREAM OF THE CROP
The Wolf Pack led the SSAC in 10 major statistical categories including – scoring offense, scoring margin and total rebounding margin.

MS. 1000/1000
Loyola senior Meghan Temple became the first Wolf Pack women’s basketball player ever to record at least 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in a career. The Houston native joins Brian Lumar (92-96) as the only basketball players in Wolf Pack history to reach the milestone. Heading into Thursday’s game, Temple has collected 1202 career points and 1003 career rebounds. Meghan will graduate from Loyola as the program’s all-time leader in both career rebounds and total blocks (128 thus far).

TAKING AIM
Loyola freshman Paige Franckiewicz (FR/Slidell, La.)’s 39.2% shooting from beyond the arc led the SSAC and her 82 three-pointers made and 2.56 triples per game were the second-most in the conference this year.

MESSED AROUND AND GOT A TRIPLE DOUBLE
After logging 10 points/10 rebounds/10 assists in a conference victory over William Carey, Wolf Pack combo guard Di’Mond Jackson notched the first triple-double by a Loyola women’s basketball player since 2008. Jackson’s impressive feat was the first by a member of the SSAC since 2011 and just the fifth in the NAIA this season.

YOU BETTER RECOGNIZE
Nine members of the Wolf Pack women’s basketball team earned recognition from the SSAC this year. Meghan Temple, Di’Mond Jackson and Zoie Miller were all selected as First Team All-SSAC while Kylah Jones (SR/Houston, Texas) earned the first Second Team All-SSAC accolade of her career. Sharpshooter Paige Franckiewicz landed on the SSAC All-Freshman Team and Jackie Anderson (SR/San Antonio, Texas) was named a SSAC Champion of Character. Finally, for their efforts in the classroom, Kayla Noto (SO/New Orleans, La.) and Caroline Gonzalez (SR/Colleyville, Texas) both earned spots on the SSAC All-Academic squad.

SKYLIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS
MSUN enters Thursday’s game ranking third in the NAIA in total rebound defense and fourth in scoring defense per game. The Skylights are led by guard Natalee Faupel who topped the Frontier Conference in scoring this season at 17.4 points per game.

LISTON BRACKET BREAKDOWN
Entering the tournament at 31-2, Shawnee State highlights in Liston Bracket.
The winner of Thursday’s Loyola and MSNU game will move on to face the winner between No. 2 Vanguard and No. 7 Lindenwood-Belleville. Vanguard is making its 19th appearance (one title) in the tournament while Lindenwood-Belleville will be making its national championship debut.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
View the game online – http://www.naianetwork.com/ ($9.95 per session)
View the game on campus – There will be a game viewing party on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. in the sixth floor conference room of the USC. Popcorn and drinks will be provided and this event is open to any Loyola faculty, staff and students.
Follow the live stats – http://bit.ly/2ntqaML

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