Walla Walla, Wash. -- The Lady Missionaries are going to the "Big Dance" for the first time in school history after receiving an at-large bid from the selection committee -- the 64 team field being announced this morning.  The Whits posted a 20 - 4 regular season and a 13 - 3 conference mark that earned them second place in the highly regarded Northwest Conference that is sending three teams to the tourney -- Lewis & Clark and NWC tournament champ Whitworth.

Coach Michelle FerenzHead Coach Michelle Ferenz

"We are thrilled", said head coach Michelle Ferenz. "I think our selection not only demonstrates recognition of our season but also, on a national level that the Northwest Conference is very, very, good in women's basketball. When you start stacking us up against other teams for at-large bids, our strength of schedule really carries us ahead of a lot of those other teams."

The Missionaries will face Cal Lutheran (23 - 4) on Friday at Lewis & Clark in Portland -- game time has yet to be announced. The Regals won their second consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title by beating Chapman 59 - 54 in the conference title game.

Whitman's stifling defense

Whitman suffered a disappointing loss at home in the NWC semi-finals after earning the No. 2 seed but earned the NCAA berth based on its total body of work. The 13 - 3 conference record included a road win at then No. 5 ranked Lewis & Clark and a victory over nationally ranked George Fox, just to name a couple of the highlights.

"I am just thrilled to have another week with these kids", said Ferenz. "It's been a fun season. It's a great group and they work so hard. The really deserve it."

No. 8 L & C is in the same grouping, facing Trinity (TX) Friday and the Pioneers and the Missionaries would matchup for a third time this season Saturday, if they both win their openers.

Check the Whitman Athletics webpage for game time and other tournament information.


Andrew Holt
Whitman Sports Information Director