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The Lakeland College women's basketball team will open up the 2010 NCAA Tournament with DePauw University at 5:30 p.m. EST on Friday, March 5, at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
DePauw (Ind.) is 22-3 and is ranked 14th in both the d3hoops.com and USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches polls. The Tigers, 2007 NCAA national champions, have won 21 straight games to close the regular season. They are making their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and advanced by winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship with a 63-37 victory over Centre.
"We're two schools that are unfamiliar with each other and on common ground going into Friday's game," Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson said. "This will be a great experience for our players."
The Muskies advanced to their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance with a 71-60 win against Benedictine on Saturday in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament championship game. They ended the season with 22 wins, the most for Lakeland since 2003-04.
Johnson, a junior on the first Lakeland team to make the NCAA Tournament in 1999, understands the excitement her players are going to face throughout the next week.
"It's a tremendous feeling to make the NCAA Tournament," Johnson said. "This is the next step for our team. We need to stay focused but at the same time take the whole experience in. It's something they will remember for the rest of their lives, and I'm thrilled that our seniors are able to be a part of this."
Seniors Chelsea Coenen, Terra Hiben, KC Blahnik and Katie Kilton will be participating in their first NCAA Tournament as their careers come to a close.
" This is very exciting for the entire team to get into the tournament," Kilton said. "One of our main goals was to win the NAC tournament and get a bid to the NCAA tournament. Being a four year player, this is a dream come true. I am looking forward to playing a very talented DePauw team and I would expect that our team will give 100% effort, play aggressive defense and fight until the final buzzer."
For the complete NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament bracket, click here.