Players, fans to hold watch party on campus Wednesday during a live broadcast of tournament pairings
IU Northwest, 2-1-2011 – For the second consecutive year, and only the second time in the university’s history, the Indiana University Northwest Lady RedHawks (22-8) have secured a spot in the NAIA Division II National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. The tournament will be held from March 9 – 15 at the Tyson Events Center.
Tournament draws will be broadcast live on Wednesday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. local time. The Lady RedHawks and the Office of Student Life and Athletics will host a watch party for the event in the Moraine Student Center at IU Northwest. Fans are invited to attend and show their support for the Lady RedHawks as the team learns whom it will face in the opening round of the national tournament next week.
“This is a special team. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said RedHawk head coach Ryan Shelton, who coached his team to a 77-53 win over Central Baptist College of Clinton, Ark. on Feb. 26 to win the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference championship and secure the tournament bid.
The Lady RedHawks overcame CBC’s early hot shooting and aggressive defense to turn a game that was tied at 32 at halftime into a 24-point rout. Junior All-American Sharon Houston (Merrillville) put down 30 points, grabbed 21 boards and had three blocks to pace IU Northwest. The Lady RedHawks also got strong performances from senior Ashley Michalski (Lake Central), who had 14 rebounds, seven points and four blocks, and freshman Annmarie Keller (Kouts), who scored 14 points and knocked down four three-pointers in six attempts. Freshman Brianne Wischman (Portage) added seven points.
“We had some big-time performances, but it was a total team effort,” Shelton said. “We’re playing our best basketball at the right time.”
IU Northwest outrebounded the Lady Mustangs 59-22 for the game and held them to just 16 percent shooting in the second half.
On Feb. 25, IU Northwest played Philander Smith College of Little Rock, Ark. in the first round and won 61-34.
It was the second straight year that IU Northwest had hosted and won the A.I.I. Tournament. The conference champion earns an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.
Houston was named the A.I.I. Conference Tournament Outstanding Player for the second consecutive year. Also this week, she was selected as the A.I.I. Outstanding Player of the Year for the third season in a row. She led the conference in points (23.5), rebounds (16.1) and blocks (3.6) per game.
Houston and fellow junior Juliette Keller (Kouts) were named to the A.I.I. All-Conference Team for the third straight year. Keller was the Lady RedHawks’ second-leading scorer this season with 11.5 points per game. Keller ranked second in free-throw percentage with 78 percent and was in the conference’s top 10 in three-point shooting.
“I am extremely proud of Sharon and Juliette, and their teammates and coaches are very happy to see them both recognized for outstanding seasons,” Shelton said.
Juliette Keller - IUN RedHawks
Sharon Houston - IUN RedHawks
IU Northwest’s 22 wins so far this season are second only to the 24 wins they recorded last year.
The NAIA National Tournament begins March 9, but the date of the Lady RedHawks’ first game won’t be known until the seeding is announced on Wednesday.
The tournament bracket will be announced via live video on the Victory Sports Network at http://www.livestream.com/victorysports. The bracket subsequently will be posted on the NAIA web site at http://naia.cstv.com/sports/w-baskbl-div2/spec-rel/082310aaa.html.