HOLLAND -- The Flying Dutch will begin play in the NCAA Division III
women's basketball championships in Ohio.
The NCAA announced this morning that Hope will travel to Berea, Ohio
for a first round game Friday against Juniata of Huntingdon, Pa.
(18-9). The other first round game with pit host Baldwin-Wallace
(26-2) against D'Youville of Buffalo, N.Y. (24-5) . Friday's winners
will meet on Saturday. Starting times are to be announced.
Hope advances as champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic
Association (MIAA) while Juniata, a member of the new Landmark Conference which is two years away from gaining an automatic berth, gained entry through a "Pool B" bid. This will be Juniata's second appearance in the NCAA tournament. Juniata's previous trip to the NCAAs was 22 years ago (1986), when the Eagles dropped a 70-53 decision to Scranton in a first round game.
D'Youville is making its first NCAA tournament appearance while Baldwin-Wallace, as champions of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), has qualified for the tenth time.
Hope has a series history with B-W, but has never played Juniata or D'Youville. The Flying Dutch own a 3-1 edge over B-W. The loss was a 75-71 setback in a 1998 NCAA first round game at B-W.
In 2006 the Flying Dutch played six consecutive games on the road en
route to winning the national championship in Springfield, Mass. A
year the Flying Dutch were sent to Greencastle, Ind. where they were
upset by Denison, Ohio in a first round game.
The Flying Dutch are appearing in the NCAA Division III championships
for the tenth time in school history and the sixth time since 2001.
They have opened tournament play at home only four times. Their NCAA
tournament record is 15-7, including 7-1 on their home court and 6-8
when played on the road.
This year's team has the added incentive of advancing through the
tournament as the semi-finals and national championship game will be
played at Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse the weekend of March 21-22. Winning
a national title on their home court would not be something new to the
Flying Dutch who won the 1990 Division III national crown at the
Holland Civic Center with an amazing come-from-behind over heavily
favored St. John Fisher, N.Y., 65-63.