NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana will lead off the 2016 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Championship in a rematch with Campbellsville.
The Gold Nuggets (22-11) will play the Tigers (25-7) at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16 to lead off the 32-team event. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Mo., is the tournament site for the second straight year. The NAIA announced Wednesday the tournament field and pairings.
Xavier and Campbellsville will meet for the third consecutive season. The Lady Tigers defeated Xavier 59-55 in the 2014 second round of nationals at Frankfort, Ky., and 74-62 in the Bethel Chamber of Commerce Shootout at McKenzie, Tenn., to open the 2014-15 season.
Xavier is one of four teams seeded seventh. Campbellsville is a No. 2 seed.
Xavier climbed to 25th in the coaches poll returned to the top 25 for the first time in five weeks. Campbellsville is ranked eighth and was preseason No. 1.
The Gold Nuggets earned an automatic bid to nationals by defeating Talladega 75-68 in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship game Sunday. This is the 19th time in the last 22 seasons that the Gold Nuggets qualified for nationals. They did not qualify a year ago.
Talladega remained at 15th in the coaches poll and will play Lindsey Wilson in the opening round at 4:30 p.m. March 17
Second-round games will be played March 18, followed by quarterfinals March 19, semifinals March 21 and the championship game March 22. The Xavier-Campbellsville winner will play The Master's or Loyola at 9 a.m. March 18.
|NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll|
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through March 8)