NCAA Women: 12 Aussies in March Madness
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No less than 20 teams featuring Australians will feature in the women’s postseason in 2016, with six of these schools sending a combined 12 players to the NCAA Tournament.
Among these are unexpected MAC champions Buffalo, a side featuring four Australians who secured their bid with a conference tournament win as an #8 seed. At the other end of the spectrum are Kristy Wallace and #1 seed Baylor, who have lost only one game all season and will be looking for no less than a Final Four appearance. Elsewhere, Big West Tournament MVP Ashleigh Karaitiana will be hoping to lead Hawaii to an upset in their first round matchup against #3 seed UCLA.
In the NIT, there is a chance for outgoing seniors Georgia Stirton (Gonzaga), Nicole Seekamp (South Dakota), Chelsea Roberts (Tennessee-Martin), Hannah Kaser, and Lauren Nicholson (both Saint Mary’s) to go out on a high in the WNIT after each narrowly missed out on reaching the NCAA Tournament,
Finally, in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, three teams with Australians were selected. New Mexico (Josie Greenwood), North Dakota (Sam Roscoe), and Grand Canyon (Jess Gajewski) were all placed in the same quarter of the 16 team bracket, with Roscoe and Gajewski facing off in the first round.
- #3 UCLA vs #14 Hawaii (Ashleigh Karaitiana)
- #1 Baylor vs #16 Idaho (Kristy Wallace, Geraldine McCorkell, Renae Mokrzycki, Tayla Corrigan & Brigitte O’Neill)
- #5 Florida State vs #12 Middle Tennessee State (Rachel Antoniadou)
- #4 Stanford vs #13 San Francisco (Alanna Smith)
Sioux Falls Region
- #3 Ohio State vs #14 Buffalo (Stephanie Reid, Courtney Wilkins, Katherine Ups & Liisa Ups)
The NCAA Tournament tips off on Saturday morning Australian time, with Buffalo (5:30am) and Baylor (8:00am) both playing on the first morning.
- Gonzaga vs UC Riverside (Georgia Stirton)
- Utah vs Montana State (Rebekah Hatchard)
- Oregon vs Long Beach State (Jacinta Vandenberg)
- Fresno State vs Santa Clara (Anais Kirvan & Dru Toleafoa)
- Saint Mary’s vs Eastern Michigan (Lauren Nicholson, Carly Turner, Hannah Kaser & Megan McKay)
- Minnesota vs Milwaukee (Jessie Edwards)
- South Dakota vs Creighton (Nicole Seekamp & Jasmine Trimboli)
- Memphis vs Tennessee-Martin (Chelsea Roberts)
- Western Kentucky vs Dayton (Madeleine Dennis)
- Northwestern vs San Diego (Tayla Hepburn)
- Virginia Tech vs Elon (Vanessa Panousis & Hannah Young)
The NIT starts on Thursday morning Australian time, with Jessie Edwards (Minnesota) the sole Aussie to feature on the first day of play. The majority of the Australians will play on Friday morning Australian time.
- #2 New Mexico vs #7 Weber State (Josie Greenwood)
- #3 North Dakota v #6 Grand Canyon (Sam Roscoe & Jess Gajewski)
The winners of these two games will play each other in the quarterfinals, meaning that if New Mexico defeat Weber State, it is guaranteed that one Australian will make the semi-finals of this tournament. New Mexico will play on Thursday morning Australian time, whilst North Dakota and Grand Canyon face off on Friday morning.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR