|Makenzie Mason||Emily Sheehan||Trevor Woodruff|
The University of Scranton women's basketball team is set to appear in the NCAA Tournament for a Division III-leading 32nd time on Friday evening, as the Lady Royals host New England College in First Round action inside the John Long Center beginning at 7 p.m.
Fans planning on making the trip to the Long Center are reminded that tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students & children (ages 2 & up) and seniors over the age of 61. Children under the age of two will be admitted at no charge. Tickets will only be sold at the gate, as there will be no advanced ticket sales.
If you can't make it out to the Lady Royals game on Friday night, both live stats and a live video feed will be available free of charge by heading to Scranton's schedule page by clicking here.
Hosting the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play for the sixth straight season, the other First Round match-up inside the Long Center on Friday will pit Eastern Connecticut State and Johns Hopkins. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.
The winners of both First Round games will clash on Saturday in a Second Round tilt that will begin at 6 p.m.
Scranton, 25-2 overall and winners of six straight entering the NCAA Tournament, come into the postseason ranked eighth by the WBCA and ninth by d3hoops.com. Last Sunday in the Long Center, the Lady Royals clinched their bid into the tournament field after blowing out Elizabethtown, 68-48, in the Landmark Conference championship game, marking the fourth straight year the Lady Royals have won the Landmark.
Led by fourth-year head coach Trevor Woodruff, the Lady Royals have been paced all season long by junior guard Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), who earlier this week was named the Landmark's Player of the Year while also garnering a All-Landmark First Team selection for the second straight season. Leading the team in points per game (13.9) and rebounds per contest (7.5), Mason has scored in double-figures 22 times throughout the course of the year, posting eight double-doubles along the way (the last coming on Sunday against E-Town, 11 points/10 rebounds).
Elsewhere, the Lady Royals defense comes into the NCAA Tournament as one of the strongest in the nation, allowing the opposition to shoot just 30.7 percent from the floor (seventh best nationally) and 48.3 points per game (sixth best nationally). Leading the unit is junior guard Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore), who was named the Landmark's Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week.
While Scranton is accustomed to playing in the NCAA Tournament, their opponent, New England College, will make their first appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament on Friday evening.
The Pilgrims earned a bid into the field after winning the NECC title on Saturday in a 61-40 win over Becker to capture the program's first conference title of any kind in 26 years. In the win, junior Rene Hudson led the way scoring a game-high 28 points. Winners of seven straight entering the NCAA Tournament, Hudson also leads the Pilgrims in scoring for the year, averaging 18.3 points a game.
Friday's other First Round match-up features Little East Conference champion Eastern Connecticut State (19-8) and Centennial Conference member Johns Hopkins (22-4), who earned an at-large selection into the field.
Eastern Connecticut State earned their spot in the field after winning the Little East title on the road Saturday, upending UMass-Dartmouth in overtime, 77-72. The Little East crown was the Warriors' third in the last five seasons and their sixth conference title overall.
Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, bowed out of the Centennial Conference Tournament in the semifinals last week to Haverford, 43-41, but rightfully earned a bid into the field after running off a nine-game winning streak at the end of the season. Three of the Blue Jays' four losses on the year were to teams were to teams in the NCAA Tournament field, (Gettysburg twice, Haverford), as Hopkins is in the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2012.
For more on this weekend's First and Second Round NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament games inside the Long Center, check out the game notes here.
And, for more on the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament, a digital program for the event is available by clicking here.