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Westminster basketball: Griffins earn No. 2 seed and St. Catharine in first round

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 7 2013 1:37 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Westminster College women’s basketball team drew a No. 2 seed at the 2013 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship when the field was announced Thursday. Westminster will face St. Catharine (Ky.) in the first round on Thursday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m. MST.

The Griffins are in the second group of eight teams with Westmont (Calif.) as the No. 1 seed in the group. Xavier (La.) is the No. 3 seed in that group with Rogers State (Okla.) taking the fourth seed. Westminster played each of those teams during the regular season, winning all three meetings.

Westminster heads into the tournament at 27-3 on the season. The Griffins were ranked No. 5 in the final regular-season edition of the 2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Griffins have spent the entire season ranked in the top five and are one of five teams to spend the entire year in the top 10.

St. Catharine is making its first-ever trip to the NAIA National Championships and received the 11th at-large invitation to this year’s field after posting a 19-11 record this season. The Patriots play in the Mid-South Conference where they finished fifth by going 11-9. They enter the tournament having dropped three of the last four games they have played.

For the Griffins, this will be their seventh trip to the national tournament. They qualified for the field of 32 by winning the school’s first Frontier Conference Tournament championship and the automatic invite that comes with it. The Griffins are 6-6 all-time at the tournament and they are 5-1 in first round games.

Thursday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between Westminster and St. Catharine. This is also just the second time the Griffins will begin the tournament on the second day of the opening round. In their previous six trips to the tournament, Westminster had played on opening day every year except 2007.

The winner of the Griffins and Patriots will play the winner between No. 3-seed Xavier and No. 6-seed Faulkner (Ala.) on Friday at 10:30 a.m. MST in the second round.

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