Setting The Stage For The First Day of the NCAA D3 Women’s Basketball Tournament

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Mary Kate O’Day and the Framingham State women’s basketball team will make their NCAA Tournament debut on Friday against Amherst College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re just one day away from the start of the 2020 NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament, which means its time to highlight a few things you need to know about this year’s postseason while also sharing some predictions, too.

Which New England teams will be competing in this year’s NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament? 

  • This year, there are 12 teams from our region that will begin their respective quests toward Columbus, Ohio tomorrow, including two teams that will be host sites for both the first and second rounds.
  • Here are the teams that will be representing New England in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament: Amherst CollegeFramingham StateEndicott CollegeBowdoin CollegeEmmanuel CollegeEastern ConnecticutSmith CollegeHusson UniversityNew England CollegeWilliams CollegeWestern New England, and Tufts University.

What are the first-round matchups, times and locations? 

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s (Friday, March 6th) first-round schedule:

  • Tufts University vs. SUNY Poly, 5 p.m. (at Western New England)
  • Williams College vs. Albright College, 5 p.m. (at Ithaca College)
  • Eastern Connecticut vs. St. John Fisher, 5 p.m. (at Messiah College)
  • New York University vs. Emmanuel College, 5 p.m. (at Bowdoin College)
  • Smith College vs. DeSales University, 5:30 p.m. (at SUNY New Paltz)
  • SUNY Cortland at Western New England, 7 p.m.
  • New England College at Ithaca College, 7 p.m.
  • Brooklyn at Bowdoin College, 7 p.m.
  • Endicott College at University of Scranton, 7 p.m.
  • Framingham State at Amherst College, 7 p.m.
  • Husson University at SUNY New Paltz, 7:30 p.m.

Which teams could advance to Saturday’s (March 7th) second round? 

  • Amherst College: The Mammoths are the favorites in their pod as they should be able to top Framingham State tomorrow and then beat either Merchant Marine or Rowan University on Saturday. The Rams should provide some challenges for the Mammoths, so don’t expect Amherst to run away from Framingham State following the opening tip.
  • Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears could be the favorite on their side of the bracket – they should be able to beat Brooklyn, but could face some challenges against either Emmanuel or New York University. But I think the Polar Bear has what it takes to not just win two games this weekend, but perhaps advance to Ohio and possibly play Tufts in the national semifinals.
  • Smith College: The Pioneers enter the postseason with a great deal of momentum. They won three straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament games last week, including back-to-back contests against MIT and Springfield College. For the Pioneers to advance to the second round, they will need to slow down a Bulldogs squad that has won 14 consecutive contests. DeSales has four players on their roster that are averaging 10 points or more per contest so for Smith to prevail, they will need big games from Amelia Clairmont and Katelyn Pickunka.
  • Tufts University: The Jumbos are primed for a deep postseason run – they should be able to get past SUNY Poly, a team they beat earlier this season, and then either SUNY Cortland or Western New England on Saturday. The loss to Bowdoin in the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) can certainly be used as motivation for games this weekend, as well as future contests later this month.
  • Williams College: The Ephs should certainly be in the mix for a second-round contest on Saturday, but face a talented Lions squad that fell short of winning their respective conference tournament championship. For Williams to be successful, they will need to find ways to stop Albright’s Dejah Terrell, who is averaging 22.4 points and 3.1 blocks per game. Additionally, they will need to keep their eyes Gabby Boggs, who is averaging 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds. Williams will need a big game from Maggie Meehan, who enters the postseason clash averaging 13.7 points.

What first-round match-up will I be watching? 

  • SUNY Cortland vs. Western New England: The Golden Bears have not played a game since last month. But one can bet they have been preparing for Friday’ match-up with a Red Dragons squad that is 7-5 on the road this season. SUNY Cortland is making its first tournament appearance since 2010 and will be led by Beth Bonin, who is averaging 18.2 points per game. Western New England should be able to counter with their senior trio of Emily FarrellCourtney Carlson, and Meghan Orbann.

First-Round Predictions! 

  • Tufts over SUNY Poly
  • Western New England over SUNY Cortland
  • Albright College over Williams College
  • Ithaca College over New England College
  • SUNY New Paltz over Husson University
  • Smith College over DeSales University
  • St. John Fisher over Eastern Connecticut
  • Bowdoin College over Brooklyn
  • Emmanuel College over New York University
  • Scranton over Endicott College
  • Amherst College over Framingham State

 

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