Women's Basketball Earns At-Large Berth To NCAA Tournament; Will Face Wingate In Opening Round

The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team earned one of the five at-large berths to the NCAA Southeast Regional, earning a sixth seed and will face the third-seeded Wingate University Bulldogs March 14 in Hickory, North Carolina.

Belmont Abbey (21-8) will be making its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament, but the first since the 2001-02 season. The Crusaders are 1-5 all-time in the tournament.

Belmont Abbey is enjoying a record-breaking year as a school record four players were named to the all-Conference Carolinas teams, as four of the five starters were selected. Junior forward McKenzie Owen was named to the first team, sophomore guard Morgan Midkiff gained a second team selection and senior guards Kelsey Long and Candace Fox were named to the third team.

Until this season the women's basketball program never had more than three players named to the all-conference teams in the same year.

First year head coach Jason Williams was named the Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year, the first Crusaders women's basketball coach since 1991 to earn that honor. He guided the Abbey to a 21-8 record-its first 20 win season since the 2004-05 campaign-and its highest conference finish in the same time period. The Crusaders were picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll and ended the year second, just one game out of first place.

NCAA Southeast Regional
#8 Armstrong (Peach Belt at-large) vs. #1 Lenoir-Rhyne (South Atlantic Conference at-large)
#7 Limestone (Conference Carolinas Champion) vs. #2 Clayton State (Peach Belt at-large)
#4 North Georgia (Peach Belt at-large) vs. #5 Columbus State (Peach Belt Champion)
#3 Wingate (South Atlantic Conference Champion) vs. #6 Belmont Abbey (Conference Carolinas at-large) 

Belmont Abbey Women's Basketball NCAA Tournament History
1998 (at Phillipi, W.Va.) lost to Bloomsburg, 74-68 
1999 (at unknown site) defeated West Liberty 77-64, lost to Shippensburg, 86-62   
2000 (at Shippensburg, Pa.) lost to Slippery Rock, 93-77   
2001 (at unknown site) lost to Bloomsburg, 86-80   
2002 (at Millersville, Pa.) lost to Glenville State, 84-70

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