NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: Women's Basketball vs. No. 21 Messiah

NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: Women's Basketball vs. No. 21 Messiah

2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament
Madison Regional—First Round
Women's Basketball vs. No. 21 Messiah
Friday, March 3—5 p.m.
Ferguson Athletic Center—Madison, N.J.

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

NCAA TOURNAMENT PROGRAM

THE SERIES
Babson and Messiah will meet for the first time on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

BABSON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Beavers are in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last nine years and the 10th time overall. Babson advanced to at least the second round of the championship in four straight years from 2010-13 and reached the national quarterfinals in both 2010 and 2011.

MESSIAH IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Falcons are making their making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2014. Messiah, which lost to regional host FDU-Florham in the second round three years ago, reached the Division III national championship game in both 2001 and 2008.

SCOUTING THE FALCONS
No. 21 Messiah (25-2) started the season 16-0 and captured its first MAC Commonwealth Tournament championship since 2014 with a 53-50 victory over Albright last Saturday. Sophomore Kristen Smoluk scored 15 points and junior Kaitlyn Hoff added 11 for the Falcons, who trailed by five with 3:03 to go in the contest. Senior Gillian Glackin (12.9 pts, 8.5 reb) is shooting 52 percent and has posted 11 double-doubles, sophomore Maci Thornton (10.9 pts, 3.4 reb, 2.9 ast) leads the team with 74 steals and Hoff (10.6 pts, 3.6 ast) is averaging 16.0 points over the last three games. Messiah ranks ninth in Division III in three-point field-goal percentage (36.2) and 15th in field-goal percentage (44.1).

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
Babson (22-5) has won three straight games and captured its seventh NEWMAC Tournament championship in the last nine years with a 65-46 victory over WPI last Saturday. Senior Giovanna Pickering, the tournament most outstanding player, poured in 24 points and classmate Taylor Russell chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds for the Beavers, who shot 50 percent for the game. Pickering (19.3 pts, 5.9 reb, 3.9 ast, 2.4 steals) is averaging 24.0 points on 48.3 percent shooting over the last five games, Russell is contributing 12.3 points and 6.1 boards, and fellow senior Jennifer Narlee (5.9 pts, 11.0 reb, 2.6 steals) has three double-doubles on the year. The Green and White ranks sixth in Division III in rebounding margin (12.3) and 27th in three-point field goal percentage (34.5).

REAPING THE REWARDS
Pickering averaged 29.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor to earn NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors last weekend. Additionally, she was selected as the NEWBA Co-Player of the Week on Monday and earned a spot on the D3hoops.com Team of the Week on Tuesday.

SENIOR TRIO EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
Pickering, Narlee and Russell were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference teams on Tuesday. Pickering was tabbed as the league's player of the year and earned her first-team honors for the third year in a row, while both Narlee and Russell garnered second-team laurels.

LEAVING HER MARK
Pickering is averaging career highs in points, rebounds,  assists and steals this season, and is the program's all-time leader in assists with 363. She also ranks sixth in school history in scoring (1,504 points) and is fourth in steals (238).

CLEANING THE GLASS
Narlee ranks 15th in school history with 620 rebounds, and her 297 boards this season are the sixth highest total in single-season program history.

COMING ON STRONG
Sophomore Katherine Tamulionis, who joined the program in mid-December, has been superb down the stretch for the Beavers. She scored a career-high 12 points in 25 minutes of Sunday's conference title game against WPI, and is averaged 7.8 points over the last five games.

JERSEY GIRLS
Junior Julianna Rosenberg (Verona) and first-years Emily Bonifacic (Allendale) and Meghan Lewis (Demarest) will all return to their home state for the first time in their careers this weekend.

SURVIVE AND ADVANCE
The winner of Friday's first round game will take on either 25th-ranked FDU-Florham or Gwynedd Mercy in the second round on Saturday at 5 p.m.

231 Forest Street

Babson Park, Massachusetts 02457-0310

731-235-1200 / Contact Us

© 2017 Babson College. All Rights Reserved.

Babson College Educates Entrepreneurial Leaders who create great economic and social value -- everywhere.