This release is courtesy of MIT and Smith Sports Information.
WESTWOOD, Mass. - The New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) will have two programs competing in the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. MIT earned the league's automatic bid with a first place finish in the conference tournament, while Smith was named as an at-large bid recipient.
After winning its second straight NEWMAC Championship on Saturday, the MIT women's basketball team learned it will square off with nationally-ranked No. 8 Saint Joseph's College of Maine in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Ithaca College on Friday, March 1. This will be the third meeting between the Engineers and the Monks.
As the No. 4 seed in the NEWMAC Tournament, MIT (21-7) defeated No. 5 Emerson College, 76-58, in the quarterfinals last Tuesday. The Engineers then traveled to top-seeded Babson College where they earned a 73-46 victory in the semifinals on Thursday. Two days later, MIT topped No. 3 Springfield College, 66-50, in the title game.
The Monks (27-1) will be making their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid. The No. 1 seed in the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference (GNAC) Tournament, Saint Joseph's defeated Johnson & Wales University, 99-75, and Suffolk University, 84-51, but fell to Emmanuel College, 65-64, on late free throws in the title game.
MIT and Saint Joseph's first squared off during the 2005-06 season at the MIT Tip-Off Tournament, which saw the Engineers record a 78-56 victory. Nine years later, the Monks topped the Engineers, 73-50, in the Curry College Tip-Off opener.
The second game of the day will feature the host Bombers (22-5) who were the Liberty League champions, and SUNY Poly (23-5), which won the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) title.
For the first time since 2013, the Smith College basketball team is headed to the NCAA Championship as the Pioneers received one of 20 berths, it was announced Monday afternoon. Smith will face Merchant Marine at Bowdoin College on March 1 at 5:00 p.m.
This is the second time in program history that head coach Lynn Hersey has led the Pioneers to the NCAA Championship with the last coming in 2013. Smith enters this year's tournament with a 21-6 record and is 12-1 in their last 13 games.
The Pioneers earned the No. 2 seed and played Springfield in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinal last Thursday, falling 48-46. Smith has been led all season by senior Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, BC, Can./Notre Dame Secondary) who is averaging 18.7 points per game and is shooting 43% from three-point range.
Sixteen first/second-round sites will be conducted March 1-2. Second-round winners will advance to one of four sectional sites March 8-9. Winners of the four sectional sites will advance to the national semifinals and final March 15-16. All games, except the semifinals/final, will be played on the campuses of competing institutions. The semifinals/final will be conducted at Cregger Center on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, hosted by the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the City of Salem.