EMU Will Dance
Royals Earn 2nd NCAA Trip
Posted: February 26, 2013
HARRISONBURG – The Eastern Mennonite University women’s basketball team lost in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship, but the Royals aren’t done playing yet.
EMU received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament on Monday, earning the program’s second-ever trip to the national stage. The Royals (21-6) will play Marymount (23-4) in a first-round game Friday at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. The winner will face either host CNU (26-2) or Guilford (23-4) on Saturday.
Friday’s game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Freeman Center, preceding the CNU-Guilford game.
Marymount is led by one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters, Katelyn Fischer, who is hitting 43 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward Shakeerah Sykes, junior forward Bianca Ygarza and junior guard Steph Rheinheimer each average between nine and 10 points for the Royals, who went 15-1 in the ODAC during the regular season. Sykes leads EMU with 6.3 rebounds per game.
Top-seeded EMU lost to Guilford 61-59 in the ODAC title game Sunday in Salem, but the national selection committee decided the Royals had done enough to make the elite field.
EMU ranked fifth in the South Region rankings at the end of the season, going 17-3 against in-region opponents.
The Royals also had a program-best 14-game winning streak snapped by the Quakers in the conference championship game.
The only previous trip to the NCAA tournament for EMU came after the 2003-04 season. The Royals hosted a three-game bracket in Harrisonburg and beat CNU, 63-62, in the second-round game. EMU then lost to Hardin-Simmons in the Sweet 16.
If the Royals reach the Sweet 16 again this season, they will face the last team standing from the following foursome: Montclair State, Regis (Mass.), Lebanon Valley and Baruch.