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UMD women’s basketball team awaits NCAA tournament placement

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DULUTH, Minn. -- For the third straight season, the UMD women's basketball team is headed to the big dance.

As winners of two of the past three NSIC tournaments, they've already earned an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA DII Women's Basketball Tournament.

The Bulldogs will be playing in their third straight national tournament, but somehow have only played one tournament game over that stretch.

Last season, the tournament was shut down due to COVID-19 before UMD could play in their opening game. This time around, they're hoping to make some noise.

"This last year and then especially this year, I think our team really knows we can make a difference in the tournament. So I think it's a little different that way and we're excited for that," said senior Payton Kahl.

They already know that they'll be playing in the Central Region in Warrensburg, Missouri. What they don't know is who they'll be playing, or what seed they'll be awarded.

"I think we have a pretty good idea of at least three of those teams are going to be, or at least two of them, se we can begin that preparation now," said head coach Mandy Pearson.

She has her eye on the MIAA tournament, a conference where UMD's opening round opponent may be coming out of. Fort Hayes State and Central Missouri are currently the top two teams in the MIAA.

"Excited to actually go out and hopefully play really well in the regional tournament and you know I think it would be awesome to advance to the elite eight," added Pearson.

The NCAA DII women's basketball selection show is on Sunday, March 7 at 9:00 p.m.

Matt Halverson

Sports Anchor and Reporter

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