SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The University of New England (22-3, 18-0 CCC) women's basketball team went undefeated in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play this year to win its fifth-straight regular season conference title and earn the top seed in the 2016 CCC Women's Basketball Tournament. The tournament gets underway with the quarterfinal round on Tuesday (Feb. 23).
The Nor'easters finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Division III Regional Rankings for the New England region and No. 18 in both the D3hoops.com and USA Today Coaches national rankings. They will be seeking their fourth-consecutive CCC championship.
On Tuesday, UNE will host the eight-seed, Nichols (3-22, 2-16 CCC), at 7 p.m. Nichols came out of a three-way tie with Wentworth and Gordon for the eight-seed. The Bison claimed the last spot in the CCC Tournament by virtue of the fourth tiebreaking step after the first three tiebreaking steps – head-to-head record among all tied teams, head-to-head results against highest-ranked conference opponents, and winning percentage against common non-conference opponents – offered no relief. Nichols had the most success against teams with a .500 or better record to win the spot.
The other three quarterfinals feature two-seed Western New England (16-9, 13-5 CCC) hosting seven-seed Salve Regina (10-15, 9-9 CCC) at 7 p.m., three-seed Roger Williams (16-9, 13-5 CCC) hosting six-seed Eastern Nazarene (14-11, 9-9 CCC) at 6 p.m., and four-seed Endicott (15-10, 15-5 CCC) hosting five-seed Curry (12-13, 9-9 CCC) at 7:30 p.m.
Tiebreakers were needed to determine the two through five seeds as Western New England, Roger Williams, and Endicott all finished the conference slate at 13-5. The Golden Bears earned the second seed thanks to the first tiebreaker, head-to-head record among all tied teams, because they were 3-1 against the Hawks and Gulls. Once Western New England was removed a new tiebreaking procedure started with Roger Williams gaining the three-seed because of their 2-0 record against Endicott.
Curry, Eastern Nazarene and Salve Regina also finished the regular season in a deadlock. All three finished the season 9-9 in conference play. The first tiebreaking step, head-to-head record among all tied teams, offered no relief as all three teams were 2-2 against each other. In the next step, head-to-head results against highest-ranked conference opponents, Salve Regina was pulled out of the tie and slotted seventh because it had a worse record than the other two teams against the second place Golden Bears. The tiebreaking procedure then reverted back to the first step with Curry earning the five-seed by virtue of winning the head-to-head matchup with Eastern Nazarene.
Quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinal round which will be played on Thursday, Feb. 25 at the sites of the higher seed.
Semifinal winners will then square off for the conference championship on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the site of the higher seed.
Tip-off times for semifinal and championship rounds will be announced following the conclusion of the previous round.
For the Interactive Tournament Bracket - click HERE (available soon).
2016 CCC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Quarterfinals • Tuesday, February 23
#8 Nichols (3-22, 2-16 CCC) at #1 University of New England (22-3, 18-0 CCC), 7:00 p.m.
#7 Salve Regina (10-15, 9-9 CCC) at #2 Western New England (16-9, 13-5 CCC), 7:00 p.m.
#6 Eastern Nazarene (14-11, 9-9 CCC) at #3 Roger Williams (16-9, 13-5 CCC), 6:00 p.m.
#5 Curry (12-13, 9-9 CCC) at #4 Endicott (15-10, 13-5 CCC), 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals • Thursday, February 25
#1/8 winner vs. #4/5 winner, TBA (at higher seed)
#2/7 winner vs. #3/6 winner, TBA (at higher seed)
Championship Game • Saturday, February 27
Semifinal Winners, TBA (at higher seed)
Start Times Will Be Announced Following the Conclusion of the Previous Round