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Women's Basketball Faces Bryan (Tenn.) In the Opening Round of the NAIA Championship

Women's Basketball Faces Bryan (Tenn.) In the Opening Round of the NAIA Championship

SIOX CITY, IOWA -- The 29th annual National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Women's Basketball Championship begins this Wednesday, March 11 at 10:15 a.m., CST. The Siena Heights Saints are heading to the tournament for the fifth time in program history. SHU was given the fifth seed in the Liston Bracket and will face the fourth-seeded Bryan (Tenn.) College Lions on Wednesday night at 6:15 p.m., EST.

The rest of the Liston Bracket matchups are one-seeded Marian (Ind.) versus eight-seeded Voorhees (S.C.), three-seeded Morningside (Iowa) against six-seeded West Virginia Tech, and two-seeded St. Francis (Ill.) versus seventh-seed Southern Oregon.

Siena Heights earned an at-large bid into the national tournament this season after finishing the year with a 27-5 overall record and a 17-3 mark in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) play. The Saints were the second seed in the conference tournament and were eliminated by Lawrence Tech in the semifinal round. Bryan enters the tournament for the ninth time in program history after winning its third consecutive Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular-season championship. The Lions hold a 28-2 overall record and a perfect 24-0 AAC tally.

Siena Heights is led by sophomore Peyton Banks (Wadsworth, Ohio) who averages 15.78 points per game and 8.34 rebounds. She leads the nation in free-throw percentage (92.8%) and was crowned the WHAC Player of the Year for her performance this season. Senior Demi Russell is another scoring leader for the Saints, scoring 15.1 PPG while pulling down 7.0 boards per contest. Anaya Powell (Junior, Grand Rapids, Mich.) leads the Saints with 107 assists this year (3.34 APG). Sophomore Kelsey Wyman (Blissfield, Mich.) is third on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game. Siena Heights scores 75.4 points per game while usually surrendering only 59.72 points per contest. The Saints also outrebound opponents 41-32.5. Siena Heights is 1-4 all-time at the NAIA Championship Tournament.

The Lions have six players averaging double-digit points. Destiny Kassner leads the team with 14.5 PPG. Kaitlyn Hennessee is second in scoring with 13.8 PPG. She also leads the team in rebounding with 5.8 boards per game. Karli Combs averages 13.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and she shoots 41.4% from three-point range. Bryan College averages 86.4 points per game as a team while allowing 68.4 points from opponents. The Lions edged the competition in rebounding 39.3-36.5 and shoot 46.5% from the floor as a team. Bryan (Tenn.) is 1-8 all-time at the NAIA Championship Tournament.

The 2020 NAIA National Championship tournament games will be broadcasting the first 28 games on the NAIA Network (www.NAIANetwork.com). The semifinal and championship games will be broadcasted on ESPN3. Fans can view the games on Stretch Internet for a single-day pass price of $9.95 or an all-tournament package price of $34.95.

LIVE STATS (DakStats)

LIVE VIDEO (pay-per-view on NAIANetwork.com)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET (pdf)