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INSIDE THE NAIA TOURNAMENT.

Byline: - Chris Cocoles

NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT

At Oman Arena, Jackson, Tenn.

Today's first-round games

All times PST

7 a.m.: Wayland Baptist (Texas) (18-13) vs. No. 8 Georgetown (Ky.) (27-5)

8:45 a.m.: No. 7 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (27-7) vs. Jarvis Christian (Texas) (24-6)

10:30 a.m.: No. 3 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (30-3) vs. Indiana-South Bend (23-11)

12:15 p.m.: Georgia Southwestern (19-9) vs. No. 2 Life (Ga.) (29-2)

2:30 p.m.: No. 1 Oklahoma City (30-2) vs. Westmont (22-11)

4:15 p.m.: No. 5 Lewis and Clark State (Idaho) (30-3) vs. Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) (19-12)

6:30 p.m.: Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) (28-6) vs. No. 6 Union (Tenn.) (29-4)

Dillard (La.) (20-8) vs. No. 4 The Master's College (26-2)

Thursday's first-round games

7 a.m.: No. 13 Oklahoma Christian (19-10) vs. Houston Baptist (Texas) (29-6)

8:45 a.m.: Western Montana (21-8) vs. No. 16 North Georgia(23-10)

10:30 a.m.: Brewton-Parker (Ga.) (22-8) vs. No. 12 Cumberland (Ky.) (26-5)

12:15 p.m.: Central State (Ohio) (24-7) vs. No. 14 Azusa Pacific (23-6)

2:30 p.m.: No. 11 Campbellsville (Ky.) (23-9) vs. OklahomaBaptist (19-13)

4:15 p.m.: No. 15 Xavier (La.) (26-4) vs. Lambuth (Tenn.) (20-12)

6 p.m.: No. 9 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (26-9) vs. Voorhees (S.C.) (23-7)

7:45 p.m.: Brescia (Ky) (22-8) vs. No. 10 Montana State-Northern (25-7)

TEAMS TO WATCH

Oklahoma City: The Stars are the two-time defending national champions and are the top seed. A potential semifinal matchup looms against The Master's, which beat OCU at a December tournament.

Life: The Eagles' men's team has won the last two NAIA titles. But Life has been tough on its women's opponents too. Life is led by senior G Makysha Mitchell

Auburn Montgomery: A rugged team that depends on its size with 6-2 senior C Carla Douglas (54 percent FG) and 5-10 senior F Crystal Williams (9.9 rebounds)

The Master's: UC Santa Barbara transfer Erin Buescher has turned what would have been a good team into a championship caliber team. A definite title contender.

Westmont: The Warriors of Santa Barbara bounced back from a 6-20 mark last season to win 22 games and earn their first national tournament bid. Each of Westmont's top four scorers are freshmen, led by Katie Hardeman (11.7) and Meredith Shanklin (10.5).

Azusa Pacific: The Cougars were one of two teams to beat The Master's, so the No. 14-seeded team could make a deep run. Junior C Stephanie Patten scored 27 points to lead Azusa past Westmont in the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game.

THE MASTER'S COLLEGE ROSTER

Name: Kelly Cornell

Vitals: 5-9 Sophomore G from Mountain Ranch

Her story: The Mustangs' most improved player could make acase for team MVP as well. The key player off the bench has also filled in nicely for steady senior PG Karen Gormley.

Name: Karen Gormley

Vitals: 5-7 Senior G from Waterville, Wash.

Her story: Coach Ken Sugarman calls Gormley the toughest player he's ever coached. Three knee surgeries and other injuries haven't prevented her from setting school career records for assists and steals.

Name: Tori Olson

Vitals: 6-0 Senior F from Lincoln, Neb.

Her story: Olson was steady all season (8.6 points, 49 percent FG) but is capable of big scoring games when the leaders are shut down.

Name: Erin Buescher

Vitals: 6-3 Senior G from Rohnert Park

Her story: One of the best players in the nation, the UC Santa Barbara transfer leads the Mustangs in scoring (17.9), rebounding (9.33), steals (97) and blocks (48). Her presence makes The Master's a legitimate threat to win the national title.

Name: Lesley DuBois

Vitals: 6-3 Sophomore C from Santa Rosa

Her story: A freshman All-America last season, Buescher's arrival has dropped DuBois' stats but not her performance level. She's a difficult matchup in the post because of her versatility.

Name: Sarah Baldwin

Vitals: 6-2 Sophomore C from Redding

Her story: The reserve has appeared in 24 games and averages 1.7 rebounds.

Name: Becca Parker

Vitals: 5-6 Sophomore G from Fresno

Her story: The Mustangs' senior-dominated back court has limited Parker's playing time. But she averaged four points in her 16 games played.

Name: Elisabeth deWaalMalefyt

Vitals: 5-11 Freshman G from Shelton, Wash.

Her story: The Mustang with the oddly spelled last name has been a key reserve and spot starter, averaging four points and four rebounds.

Name: Jorden Whittington

Vitals: 5-10 Junior G from Graham, Wash.

Her story: Whittington got a late start after participating for the Mustangs' volleyball team but blossomed into a starter. Scoreda career-high 29 points on Dec. 29 against Rocky Mountain College.

Name: Melynda McNicol

Vitals: 5-10 Senior G from Olympia, Wash.

Her story: A transfer from Western Washington University, McNicol is the Mustangs' long-range bomber, hitting on 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. Connected on a school-record eight 3's on Dec. 16 against Trinity International.

Name: Jenifer Bennett

Vitals: 6-0 Senior F from Bellingham, Wash.

Her story: Another of the Mustangs' unsung heroes, Bennett has spelled DuBois in the paint and provides a low-post scorer.

Name: Andria Miller

Vitals: 6-3 Sophomore C from Garden Valley

Her story: Lots of depth and experience in the front court,so next season figures to be Miller's time.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo: Lesley Dubois is one of The Master's key players.

Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 14, 2001
Words:899
Previous Article:NEW & NOTEWORTY.
Next Article:SCHOOL THREATS PROBED.



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