Lexington, Ky. – The No. 20 Transylvania women's basketball team will begin the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament at home this weekend with a first-round matchup against Piedmont (Ga.) College at the Clive M. Beck Center on Friday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.
After securing an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament this past weekend by winning their conference tournament championship, the Pioneers were awarded first and second-round hosting duties on Monday afternoon in the NCAA's selection show and release of the 64-team tournament bracket.
Also traveling to Lexington this weekend for the NCAA regionals are the University of Chicago and Oglethorpe University.
Chicago will face Oglethorpe on Friday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time to tip off a Friday first-round doubleheader.
The winner of Friday's first-round games between Chicago-Oglethorpe and Transylvania-Piedmont will advance to play each other the following day, Saturday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in the second-round contest to advance the winner to the "Sweet 16" round of the NCAA Tournament at a location to be determined on Friday, March 8.
Ticket prices for each session of the regional are $8 for adults, $5 for students from the classes of freshmen in high school through seniors in college, and $4 for children in 8th grade and younger; children ages 2 and under are admitted for free with a ticketed adult and are required to sit in the lap of the adult.
For those wishing to watch Friday and Saturday's NCAA Tournament action, all three games will be broadcast live online via the Transy Sports Network.
Transylvania (25-2, 17-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) is making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 2014-2015 season. The Pioneers finished in first place in the HCAC this season and defeated Rose-Hulman on Saturday, 63-61 in the HCAC Championship game in Lexington to advance into the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers are currently on a 20-game win streak entering the tournament.
Transylvania ranks 12th nationally in scoring average at 77.4 points per game, fourth in the country in three-point percentage at 39.2 percent, and 11th across the country in field goal percentage shooting 45.2 percent from the floor.
The Pioneers are led by senior guard Celia Kline, who paces the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and ranks third in the nation in three-point percentage at 47.6 percent. Joining Kline in double-digit scoring is junior guard Shelby Boyle at 14.4 points per game and leads the Pioneers in rebounding at 7.6 boards per game. Junior guard Ashton Woodard is another potent option, averaging 12.8 points per game, five rebounds per game, and is shooting 48 percent from the field.
Transylvania is coached by Juli Fulks, who is in her fifth year at Transylvania. This is the second time the Pioneers have appeared in the NCAA Tournament under Fulks. The Capital University graduate won her 250th career head-coaching victory earlier this season.
Chicago (19-6, 10-4 University Athletic Association) qualified for the NCAA Tournament by receiving an at-large bid. The Maroons finished second in the UAA and captured notable wins this season against Illinois Wesleyan, Wheaton (Ill.), and at Rose-Hulman.
Chicago and Transylvania share common opponents this year in both Rose-Hulman and Emory. The Maroons went 1-1 against Emory and won at Rose-Hulman, 68-61 on December 18, 2018. Transylvania defeated Emory, 90-87 in a double-overtime thriller in Lexington on November 24, 2018 and won two out of three games against Rose-Hulman this season.
Chicago is led by forward Olariche Obi, who ranks fourth in their conference in rebounding at 8.2 rebounds per game and ranks fourth in field goal percentage at 48 percent. Taylor Lake is Chicago's leading scorer at 14.5 points per game on an effective field goal percentage of 48 percent.
Maroons head coach Carissa Sain is in her seventh campaign at University of Chicago where she is 118-61 over that span.
Piedmont (23-5, 14-2 USA South) enters the NCAA Tournament as the conference tournament champions of the USA South, defeating Transylvania's bluegrass neighbor, Berea College, 74-67 in Sunday's USA South Tournament Championship.
Piedmont, which hails from Demorest, Georgia, is led by Amari Price, an all-around talent who leads the Lions in scoring at 15.6 points per game and ranks sixth in the country in assists at six dimes per contest. Price also has four triple-doubles on the year which ranks fourth nationally. Price is another participant in Lexington with three-point acclaim, ranking third in the USA South in three-point percentage at a 40.4 percent clip.
The Lions will play opposite a familiar competitor on Friday in Lexington as Oglethorpe defeated Piedmont head-to-head on November 24, 2018 by the score of 81-72.
Piedmont is coached by 14th-year head coach Jamie Purdy, a Piedmont College Hall-of-Famer.
Oglethorpe (22-6, 11-3 Southern Athletic Association) is another at-large bid team headed to Lexington to begin its NCAA Tournament trek. The Stormy Petrels of Atlanta, Georgia are making their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance after an eight-year tourney drought.
The Stormy Petrels have common opponents with multiple teams in the Lexington pod; Oglethorpe defeated Emory, 71-64 in overtime in its season opener, won 70-56 over Rose-Hulman on November 17, 2018, and won versus Piedmont, 81-72 on November 24, 2018. This will be Oglethorpe's second trip to Central Kentucky within a month; the Stormy Petrels defeated conference opponent Centre College, 53-43 in nearby Danville, Kentucky on February 8.
Oglethorpe brings formidable size to the regionals in Lexington, led by 6-foot-1 senior forward Lauren Ransom, the team's second-leading scorer at 11 ppg; the senior averages 7.6 rebounds per game, third-best in the SAA and ranks fifth in conference in field-goal percentage at 45.6 percent. 6-foot-1 sophomore center Savannah LeGate stands second in the SAA with 7.8 rebounds per game and leads the team in scoring at 11.3 points per contest.
Senior guard Jada Triplett is shooting 40 percent from outside, the second-highest three-point percentage in the SAA. The senior has come on strong approaching the most important time of the year, hitting four three-pointers each in three of her last five games.
Spearheading the Stormy Petrels is fifth-year head coach Alex Richey, who was named the SAA Coach of the Year for the first time in his career last season.
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Follow the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament at NCAA.com
2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament First and Second Rounds, Lexington, Kentucky
Friday, March 1 (All Times Eastern)
4:00 p.m: Chicago vs. Oglethorpe
6:00 p.m.: Piedmont at Transylvania
Saturday, March 2
5:00 p.m.: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2