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Lady Bulldogs chosen as at-large team in NAIA championships
Mar 08, 2007 12:00 am
As expected, Cumberland earned its third straight at-large berth in the NAIA Women's National Championships, it was announced Tuesday.
The Lady Bulldogs will bring a 23-7 record into the 32-team tournament at Jackson's Oman Arena. The event will run March 14-20.
Cumberland was ranked 12th in the final NAIA poll released last week. That should give the Lady Bulldogs a third or fourth seed in the event, which has four eight-team brackets.
The field comes from 17 automatic qualifiers from postseason conference tournaments and 15 at-large teams.
Joining Cumberland from the TranSouth Conference are Union and Trevecca as the automatic qualifiers. Two-time national champion Union beat Trevecca – coached by Mt. Juliet's Gary VanAtta and featuring MJ players Kristin Archie, Christian Gibson and Paige McFarlin – for the league title Monday night. Other at-large teams from the TSC are Lambuth and Freed-Hardeman, giving the league five teams in the field.
This is Cumberland's fourth trip to the Nationals since 1999. The Lady Bulldogs reached the round of 16 two years ago.
Brackets are expected to be released in the next day or so.
This is the 27th annual women's national tournament, which has been held in Oman since 1990. The NAIA has announced an agreement has been reached with the City of Jackson to extend the contract two more years, keeping the event in Oman through 2009.