Patriots earn NCAA bid

UT Tyler head coach Kevin Baker leads the Patriots into the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. ( Lang White / Correspondent )

The Patriots are going dancing again.

UT Tyler, fresh off a standout regular season, received a bid to the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament for the second straight year, the NCAA announced from Indianapolis on Monday.

The Patriots will compete in the Richardson Regional on the campus of the University of Texas at Dallas. The tourney is Friday and Saturday.

The Patriots (26-2) will join host UT Dallas (25-4), Rhodes College (20-8) of Memphis, Tennessee, and Southwestern (15-12) of Georgetown in the four-team, single-elimination tournament.

UT Tyler is the lone at-large team in the regional, as UTD, Rhodes and Southwestern all received automatic bids after winning their conference tournament championships.

The Patriots will play the Southwestern Pirates in the first round game at 5 p.m. Friday. Southwestern won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title after defeating Trinity 71-58.

Southwestern is led by senior forward Jordan Owens who is averaging 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The Pirates are averaging 67 points per game as a team.

The Patriots are led by first-team All-American Southwest Conference player Brittany King. She was also on the all-defensive team. King leads UT Tyler with a 15.1 scoring average, along with a 9.2 rebound average.

Michelle Obach, a former Bishop Gorman standout, was named All-ASC Newcomer of the Year, while Kevin Baker was named Coach of the Year for the third straight season.

Obach is averaging 4.0 assists per game and 2.4 steals. She is scoring at a clip of 10.5 per game.

UT Tyler won the ASC regular season title with a 19-1 mark, but was upset in the tournament championship by UT Dallas, 82-74.

Host UT Dallas is a team the Patriots know well, having played three times this season. UT Dallas is the only team to beat the Patriots this year, once in December and the second coming in the ASC Championship final Saturday.

UTD and Rhodes will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday. All games are scheduled for the UTD Activity Center.

The Comets are led by first team All-ASC performer Madi Hess who averaged 12.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per contest. UT Dallas has a stingy defense, leading the ASC in opponent scoring allowing just 56.6 points per game.

Rhodes enters the tournament as the three-time defending Southern Athletic Association champions, and will take on UT Dallas in Friday’s first round. The Lynx are led by Symone Daniels who is averaging 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.

The winners on Friday will face each other on Saturday, with a chance to advance to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 the following week. The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

 
 

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.