MILWAUKEE (WLCSports.com) - The Wisconsin Lutheran College women's basketball team will open the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament with a matchup against 17th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan Friday, March 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Committee announced Monday during its Selection Show on NCAA.com. The Warriors and Titans will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. inside Schoenecker Arena on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. The host Tommies (26-1) will face Ripon (19-8) at 8:00 p.m. in Friday's other first round matchup. Friday's winners will meet Saturday in St. Paul.
Wisconsin Lutheran (26-1) returns to its second straight NCAA Tournament and eighth in the last nine years after defeating third-seeded Concordia Wisconsin 67-47 Saturday night to secure the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference's (NACC) automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Warriors boast the top scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 45.4 points per game and feature the reigning NACC Player of the Year Jen Dowden (Bonduel, Wis.). Dowden averages 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while the Warriors average 69.7 points per game and shoot at a 44.9 percent clip from the field.
Illinois Wesleyan, which earned the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin's (CCIW) automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Wheaton 69-68 in the CCIW Tournament Final, finished with a 23-4 overall record and a 14-2 record in CCIW play. The Titans average 76.5 points per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and have won seven straight games. IWU is led by senior forward Maddie Merritt, a First Team All-CCIW selection, who averages 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the field.
Tickets, which go on sale at 4:00 p.m. Friday, are $7 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Once purchased, tickets are valid for both games Friday. On Saturday, tickets will go on sale at 5:30 p.m.