Montana Western a No. 1 seed; 5 Frontier Conference teams in NAIA women’s tournament

BILLINGS — Defending national semifinalist Montana Western highlights five Frontier Conference women’s basketball teams selected to the NAIA Division I national tournament next week, after the 32 qualifiers were announced on the annual selection show on Wednesday.

Western (25-4 overall, 15-3 Frontier Conference) was given a No. 1 seed, fourth overall, for the six-day tournament at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. The Bulldogs face Georgetown (Kentucky) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the opening round. Western is the top seed in the Cramer Bracket and was ranked No. 4 in the final regular season coaches poll of the year.

Frontier Conference tournament champion Carroll College (25-7, 14-4), along with Lewis-Clark State (20-11, 9-9), the University of Providence (18-13, 7-11) and host Rocky Mountain College (20-12, 10-8) will also represent the league at the national tournament.

Carroll dons a No. 2 seed and meets Pikeville (Kentucky) on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. in the Duer Bracket. Rocky is in the top half of the Duer Bracket, set to meet Shawnee State (Ohio) on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.

Lewis-Clark State, a No. 6 seed, will compete in the Naismith Bracket, tipping off the tournament on its opening day, Wednesday, at 1:45 p.m. against William Penn (Iowa).

Providence, one of the last four teams into the tournament, is an eight seed and faces top-seeded and No. 2 overall Campbellsville (Kentucky) on Thursday at 2:15 p.m.

Defending champion Freed-Hardeman (Tennessee) is the top-ranked team in the tournament, which tips off its first game on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. California sent a state-best five programs to the national tournament, while Montana is tied with Kentucky and Louisiana with four teams.

There are no undefeated teams in this year’s national tournament.

Richie Melby

Richie Melby

A Hi-line native, Richie Melby enjoys telling the stories of Montana athletes, coaches and teams. Richie got his start in TV at KTVQ in Billings and worked as the Sports Director at KRTV. After a couple of years in Tucson, Ariz., Richie returned to his home state as the Sports Director at KTVH.
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