On Saturday February 26th, the Transylvania Pioneers women’s basketball team secured their fourth straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title, defeating the Anderson University Ravens 81-51 in the championship game at the Beck Center. With this win, the pioneers kept their undefeated season alive, improving to a 13-0 conference record and a 24-0 overall record heading into the NCAA tournament.
The Pioneers came into the tournament ranked Number 2 in the country, Number 1 in the HCAC, and had almost certainly clinched at least an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. They defeated the Manchester University Spartans in the first round 90-44, then defeated the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology Fighting Engineers in the semifinals 72-50. In the championship game against Anderson, the Pioneers started out on a 16-0 run and held the Ravens to only 7-24 shooting in the first half, giving them a 50-17 lead at the half, which the Pioneers were able to successfully hold on route to a 81-51 victory. Kennedi Stacy led the team in scoring with 21 points on 8-11 shooting in the first half alone and 24 points overall. Stacy was also named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, with both her and her teammate Madison Kellione also being named to the All-Tournament team.
With this win, the Pioneers clinched their fourth consecutive conference title and an automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament. They also improved to a perfect 24-0 record for the season, with impressive wins at Number 7 Tufts University and vs. Number 3 John Carroll University. They are ranked Number 2 in the country by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association poll, only below the also-undefeated Christopher Newport University Captains.
The Pioneers will take on Washington & Jefferson College in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 4th at 6:30 P.M. in the Beck Center. Tickets are free for the first 100 students and 50 faculty members.