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WICHITA, Kan. – The Friends University Women's Basketball team is set for their 9th appearance in the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship tourney. The Falcons, the KCAC Regular Season Champions, earned a No. 4 seed in the tournament and will take on No. 5 seed Hastings College in the last game of the first round, scheduled for 8:45pm tonight, Thursday, March 9th, in Sioux City, Iowa.
Friends and Hastings, ranked No. 13 and No. 20, respectively, in the final regular season NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll released just before the bracket last week, met in the season opener for both teams back on November 2nd in Wichita. Both teams were receiving votes in the poll at the time, and Hastings won that 61-55 for the only home loss by the Falcons, 27-5 overall, all season. Friends went 21-1 in KCAC play.
The Broncos earned their bid as an at-large team out of the Great Plains Athletic Conference where they went 22-9 overall and 14-6 against GPAC opponents.
Friends is led by All-American guard Shann Sellers (SR/Dallas, Texas), who earned her second straight KCAC Player of the Year and KCAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades. She finished first in both the conference and the nation in scoring average (24.8ppg) and steals (6.6spg). Sellers set the Friends single-season steals record in just 16 games, and broke the 23-year old NAIA record of 161. She sits at 210 on the year. Sellers also led the KCAC in assists (4.2 apg) and was second in rebounding (8.1rpg) and field goal percentage (53.3%). Sellers also recorded the first triple-double in program history against Southwestern on February 11th (25pts, 10reb, 10stl) and then had another in the first round of the KCAC Tournament against Oklahoma Wesleyan on February 23rd (24pts, 11stl, 10reb).
Helping on the offensive end is Lexi Evans (SO/Austin, Texas), who averages 11.4ppg and ranks No. 5 in the NAIA with 99 makes from 3-point on the season, a new Falcon record. Yowana Posey (JR/Chicago, Ill.) chips in 11.1ppg and has four double-doubles.
Hastings has just one player who averages double-digits (All-GPAC Second Team selection Holly Hild at 11.4ppg), but the Broncos give up just 60.5ppg and 31.8rpg.
The Falcons will look to continue what they normally do under Head Coach RaeAnne Boothe, who brings the team to the National Tournament for the fifth time in the last six years, which is create havoc on the defensive end. Friends ranks No. 2 in the NAIA in steals (17.0spg) and is No. 3 in turnover margin (+9.7). While always good on defense, their offense has picked up this season, ranking No. 20 in the country at 75.2ppg and No. 22 in field goal percentage (43.1%).
The winner of the game will advance to the next round to take on the winner of the No. 1 vs No. 8 game in the Duer bracket of the NAIA Champions that features St. Xaiver and IU Kokomo. That second round contest will take place on Friday, March 10th at 8:45 pm.