NAIA men's draw

Saint Francis forward Scott Kohne talks about Cougars' tournament draw

You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local colleges

  • Mastodons benefit from Canada tour
    The IPFW men’s basketball team won 2 of 3 games on its recent trip to Canada – the Mastodons defeated McMaster 80-69 and York 86-74, then lost 89-74 to Windsor on Wednesday – but the six-day voyage was about much more than winning and losing to
  • Excited to get started
    The first morning of practice at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium was halted prematurely Monday because of heavy rain, but coach Kevin Donley wasn’t about to get irked at that.
  • Cougar wants to be stamped a champion
    Defensive back Kory Stamps isn’t concerned about the individual accolades.
Advertisement
Schedule
NAIA Division II tournament
Women
What: First round
Who: Saint Francis vs. Ashford (Iowa)
When: 1 p.m. Wednesday
Who: Huntington vs. Menlo (Calif.)
When: 1 p.m. March 13
Men
What: First round
Who: Saint Francis vs. Robert Morris (Ill.)
When: 5 p.m. March 13
Who: Huntington vs. Southeastern (Fla.)
When: 5 p.m. Wednesday
And Another Thing

JG columnist Ben Smith talks about why the Saint Francis women should bring home NAIA title.

NAIA women's draw

Saint Francis guard Skylarr Shurn talks about Cougars' tournament draw

Cougars women top seed in NAIA

– So now it’s official: The biggest, gaudiest target of all is fastened securely to the Saint Francis Cougars’ back.

The Cougar women, 33-0 and ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division II, discovered their fate Wednesday night, and it was, to say the least, not unexpected. The Cougars will go to Sioux City, Iowa, as the No. 1 overall seed in the Division II national tournament, and will play Ashford, Iowa, in the first round at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The men, meanwhile, drew a No. 14 seed in their national tournament in Point Lookout, Mo., and will take on Robert Morris (Ill.) in the first round at 5 p.m. March 13. Huntington’s men and women also made the tournament; the women (23-8), a No. 5 seed, will play No. 4 Menlo (Calif.) (25-5) at 1 p.m. March 13, and the men (24-7), the 16 seed, take on Southeastern (Fla.) (24-6) at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

At Saint Francis, meanwhile, no one on either side of the ledger was exactly floored by the draw.

“Yeah, Coach threw out about three or four different names of who we might be playing, and that was one of them,” Cougars forward Scott Kohne said of the men’s matchup with Robert Morris.

“We knew we’d be the No. 1 overall seed, so it would have to be a shock not to be,” Saint Francis women’s coach Gary Andrews said.

Cougars’ guard Skylarr Shurn agreed.

“That’s kind of what we played for all season, to get the No. 1 seed in the tournament,” she said. “That was one of our goals this year along with winning the conference.”

As for their first opponent, Ashford is 12-20 and making its first appearance in the tournament, something Andrews draws no comfort from whatsoever.

“I’d rather play somebody 12-20 than 25-6 or something like that,” he said. “But when you go out there, everything goes out the window. You’ve just got to worry about whoever you’re playing. Because you always have upsets.”

By way of example, he pointed that he and men’s coach Chad LaCross were reviewing the men’s bracket last year and discovered 10 of 16 lower seeds won the first round. Something for Andrews to think about, but especially LaCross as his 21-10 Cougars, ranked 14th in the last NAIA poll, take on No. 19 Robert Morris (23-9).

“They’re a team that’s really athletic,” LaCross said of Robert Morris.

“At least in the years past they’ve been a powerhouse. I think they spent the last several years in NAIA Division I. This is their first year in NAIA Division II.

“It will be a tough matchup. We knew anybody we drew, being in the middle of the rankings, it was going to be tough.”

And, as noted, nothing’s a given.

“The first round, you get a day off,” Kohne said. “But then you’re playing every single day so you don’t have much time to prepare for anybody. So you just hopefully win and advance and just play your hardest, and anything can happen.”

bensmith@jg.net

Advertisement