NMU draws Ashland again to open NCAA Tournament

MARQUETTE — There shouldn’t be any problems with the scouting, considering who the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team has drawn in its first-round game of the NCAA Division II national tournament.

None other than Ashland, which defeated the Wildcats 65-58 for the GLIAC Tournament title on Sunday in Allendale.

NMU is the No. 5 seed and Ashland No. 4 in the eight-team Midwest Region, joining No. 3 Grand Valley State as GLIAC representatives at the regional tournament to be hosted by the region’s No. 1 seed, Drury, in Springfield, Missouri.

The Panthers are not only No. 1 in the region, but No. 1 in the country.

The Midwest Region includes teams from the GLIAC, Great Lakes Valley Conference, Great Midwest Athletic Conference along with one independent.

A win in their first game would put the Wildcats on a collision course with Drury, which would have to beat No. 8 Kentucky Wesleyan in its opener.

First-round games are scheduled for Friday, with the second round Saturday and regional title games next Monday.

This and other regional winners then get a week off before advancing to the Elite 8 to be played in Columbus, Ohio, from March 26-29.

Drury, No. 2 Lewis and No. 6 Truman State are from the GLVC, while No. 7 Walsh and No. 8 Kentucky Wesleyan are from the G-MAC. Walsh is also a former member of the GLIAC.

Northern defeated Lewis 62-56 in the Wildcats’ season opener on Nov. 10 during the GLVC-GLIAC Challenge played at Hillsdale.

And the Wildcats went 2-1 vs. Grand Valley, handing the Lakers their only conference loss in January then defeating them in the conference tourney semifinals on Saturday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.