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Hillcat Women Headed Back to the Dance

The RSU WomenThe RSU Women's basketball team will make its second consecutive appearance at the National Championship. (photo by Ryan Weaver)

CLAREMORE, Okla. - The Rogers State women’s basketball team will continue the 2011-12 season as the Hillcats will return to the Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship for a second consecutive season, earning the No. 12 at-large bid. 

Head Coach Amy Williams’ squad will head to Frankfort, Ky. as they face Cumberlands (Ky.) on Wednesday, March 14 at 9:45 p.m. inside the Frankfort Convention Center.  The Patriots (28-3) were an automatic qualifier as they won the Mid-South Tournament Championship. CU is making their 12th appearance at the NAIA Tournament and is 5-11 all-time at the Championship.

The Hillcats made their first appearance at the tournament last season as they fell 60-56 to No. 8 Westminster College in the opening round.

RSU won eight of their last 10 regular season contests while compiling a 20-11 overall record. They finished fourth in the Sooner Athletic Conference standings with a 13-8 record. Newcomer Sierra Cornwell was named Sooner Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference. The Twin Hills, Okla. native has tallied 111 swiped on the season.  Junior Leah Smith leads the Hillcats in scoring as she averages 12.5 points per game. Gianna Woods  has tallied nine double-doubles this season as she averages 11.6 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Three SAC foes will join the Hillcats at the Dance. No. 1-ranked in the Coaches’ Poll, Oklahoma City is looking to earn its sixth national title in program history. No. 5 Lubbock Christian and No. 16 Southern Nazarene will also be vying for the championship.

The tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EST on March 14, before moving back to 9 a.m. on March 15 and 16. The opening three days feature eight games each. March 17 showcases quarterfinal action beginning at 2 p.m. and the semifinals are scheduled for March 19 at 6 and 8 p.m. The Championship final, which will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, will tip at 6 p.m. on March 20.

NeuLion is the NAIA’s digital media partner and official video-streaming company of 10 select NAIA National Championship events. The first 30 contests from Frankfort, Ky., will be available via live stream for $29.95 and any single day can be purchased for $9.95. Also, one can purchase the all-tournament package of all four basketball tournaments for $49.95.

Fans can list to RSU’s run at the national tournament on the Hillcat Network.  The live audio stream can be found at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.

For a complete look at the Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship bracket click here.

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