In the athletic department's first year as a full NCAA Division III member, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team has received an invitation to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division III National Basketball Tournament.
"This is a monumental day for Brooklyn Athletics," said athletic director and head women's basketball coach Frank Carbone. "It's an amazing opportunity that will certainly benefit the entire St. Joseph's College community. We feel fortunate and are thrilled to be selected."
The team will face No.1 seed Amherst College (27-0) in the first round on Friday, March 2, in Amherst, MA.
The winner will face the winner of the Babson (25-2) vs. Bridgewater State (19-7) in the regional finals on Saturday, March 3rd to determine who advances to the sectional round.
The tournament berth is the first for Brooklyn Athletics, which attained full NCAA membership on September 1, 2011 – after a six-year-long process – making all 12 varsity teams eligible to qualify for the national championship tournaments.
After starting the season a disappointing 1-9, the Lady Bears finished with a 13-13 record powered by a 10-game winning streak that lasted nearly a month, their longest in eight seasons.
St. Joseph's received a pool B bid to the 64-team tournament. The pool B bid is awarded one independent team or a team who competes in a conference that does not award an automatic bid for their conference champion.
"Receiving the opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament in our first year is something we would have never imagined when we started our NCAA journey six years ago," said Carbone.
Forty-three automatic qualifying bids are awarded to conference champions (pool A) and 20 additional bids are awarded to at-large teams (pool C) as selected by the championships committee.
This also marks the first NCAA tournament appearance in women's basketball from the Brooklyn or Long Island campuses of St. Joseph's College. The team will have their work cut out for them.
Amherst earned its third straight New England Small College Athletic Conference title and will make its fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance, capturing its first national title last year, after reaching the semifinals in 2009 and 2010. Amherst is one of four undefeated teams in the tournament and finished the season as the top-ranked team in the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches and D3Hoops.com polls.
Check back on www.SJCBears.com for additional updates, including the announcement of game times, as well as fan bus information and live coverage.