(Thief River Falls, MN) — The Northland Pioneers Women’s Basketball team has advanced to the 2017 NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Northland won the Region XIIIB Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 48-34 victory over 4th seed Hibbing Community College and a 76-31 championship win over 2nd seed Mesabi Range Community College. These victories earned the Pioneers a spot in the National Tournament on March 16-18, 2017 in Utica, New York.
“This team has persevered through a lot of adversity this season, from injuries to having a younger team. We really relied on our freshmen to carry a heavy load from the beginning,” head coach Shannon Nelson said. “We’re especially proud of how the entire team came together last weekend and played possibly their best game of the season in the championship game.”
That perseverance led Northland to securing the #2 seed in the national tournament and will open play against Anoka-Ramsey at 12:00 PM ET on March 16th. The Pioneers go into the tournament led by sophomore forward ShaRon Miller, 2016-17 Region XIIIB Tournament MVP, and Coach Shannon Nelson, 2016-17 Region XIIIB Coach of the Year. This is Nelson’s 6th national tournament appearance during her seven seasons as head coach at Northland.
“It always feels new and exciting. You want each team to have its own experience so as coaches we like to approach each year with new goals and expectations,” Nelson explained on her tournament success.
Northland is making its 9th overall appearance in the NJCAA postseason. Northland won the National Championship in 2014 and was National Tournament runner-up in 2016. Northland had a 24-win and 3-loss season and was 11-1 in the MCAC Northern Division.
2017 NJCAA Quarterfinal Match-Ups
No. 1 seed Rock Valley (30-2) vs. Brookdale (22-6)
No. 4 seed Mohawk Valley (24-7) vs. West Georgia Tech (8-16)
No. 2 seed Northland (24-3) vs. Anoka-Ramsey (19-8-0)
No. 3 seed Roxbury (23-2) vs. Hostos (29-3)