WBK: Warriors to meet Lyon College in NAIA tourney

The official brackets have been released and 16th-ranked Westmont Women’s Basketball (24-6) will take on the 17th-ranked Scots of Lyon College (27-6) from Batesville, Arkansas in the first round of the 2015 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, Presented by Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City. Westmont is the number four seed in their quadrant of the 32-team bracket while Lyon is the number five seed.

The Warriors and Scots are scheduled to tip off at 10:45 a.m. CDT (8:45 a.m. PDT) on Thursday, March 19, the second day of first round games. The Championship Tournament will be held at the Independence Events Center in Independence, Missouri.

Westmont and Lyon have met up once before – ironically in the first round of the 2012 NAIA National Championship. The Warriors edged the Scots 59-57 to advance to the second round. Westmont senior guard Celina Gougis is the only player on either current team who was on the roster three years ago, though she did not play in the previous game.

The Scots are making their fourth trip in a row to the National Tournament under head coach Tracy Stewart-Lange (188-129 at Lyon), who is in her 10th season. Lyon will be looking to earn their first NAIA Tournament win in next Thursday’s game.

Lyon features four players who average double-digit scoring. Junior Guard Carina Jackson of Sao Paulo, Brazil averages 13.3 points per game while shooting 38.1 percent, whether in front of the three-point line or behind it. Junior forward Taylor Gaedtke of Keller, Texas averages 11.9 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game.

Jamie Jackson, a sophomore guard from Beebe, Ark., contributes another 11.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while sophomore forward Elliot Taylor adds 10.2 points and 4.4 boards per game.

The Scots are known for the stinginess, giving up just 55.72 points per game – fifth best in the NAIA – and allowing their opponents just 30.22 rebounds per game – fourth best in the NAIA. They boast a scoring margin of 13.50 – 16th best in the NAIA. They also love the free throw line from which they make 75.1 percent of their attempts – fourth best in the NAIA.

Lyon finished second in the 13-team American Midwest Conference, posting a 21-3 conference mark behind the NAIA’s top-seeded team of Freed-Hardeman of Tennessee (32-1). In the AMC Tournament, Lyon advanced to the championship game were they fell to the Lions of Freed-Hardeman 72-62.

Westmont and Lyon have had no common opponents this season.

The Warriors are making their 10th trip to the National Championships where they have posted a record of 8-8. In 2013, Westmont won five games in six days to take home the championship trophy.

As a team, the Warriors rank ninth in the NAIA in three-point field goal percentage at 35.1 and eighth in three-point field goals made per game at 7.57. Westmont is the ninth team in the NAIA in fewest rebounds allowed at 33.07 per game.

In Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore’s 10th season (217-94), the Warriors have yet to lose to a non-conference opponent this season.

The winner between Westmont and Lyon will advance to second round action on Friday at 6:15 p.m. CDT (4:15 p.m. PDT) to take on the winner between number one seed Westminster of Utah (25-2) and number eight seed Cumberland of Tennessee (16-12).