GREENWOOD, Ind. – The HCAC women's basketball tournament will get underway Tuesday night with opening round action from Hanover College and Transylvania University. The six-team tournament will decide who receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. The event will conclude with the semifinals and championship contests at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Friday and Saturday.
Rose-Hulman (22-3, 17-1 HCAC) heads into the tournament ranked No. 5 in the Great Lakes Regional rankings after claiming its second consecutive HCAC regular season title. The Fightin' Engineers also received two votes in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25 National poll.
The Fightin' Engineers posted a 10-0 record against the five other schools involved in the conference tournament. Bluffton (21-4, 15-3 HCAC) went 7-3 against the field, while Transylvania (18-7, 12-6 HCAC) finished 5-5. Hanover (13-12, 11-7 HCAC) and Franklin (13-11, 11-7 HCAC) each earned a 3-7 mark against the field and Defiance (13-12, 10-8 HCAC) stood 2-8 against the tourney teams.
Top seed Rose-Hulman will be searching for their first tournament championship this weekend. The Fightin' Engineers will take on the winner of Hanover and Franklin on Friday evening in the HCAC semifinals. Rose-Hulman posted a sweep of the Panthers and Grizzlies this season.
Hanover and Franklin both claimed a 6-4 record down the stretch before heading into the postseason tournament. The No. 4 seed Panthers will look to move into the semifinals with a win over No. 5 Franklin Tuesday night in Hanover. Hanover and the Grizzlies split their games during the regular season, with the last matchup ending in an overtime victory for the Grizzlies. Hanover and Franklin will tip at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Hanover College's Collier Arena.
The Bluffton women will be searching for their second consecutive tournament championship this weekend. The Beavers earned the No. 2 seed after finishing 15-3 in conference play and will tangle with the winner of Transylvania and Defiance in the second semifinal game at Rose-Hulman on Friday. The Beavers have won six-straight games heading into the postseason, and they swept Transylvania and earned a split with Defiance during their meetings this season.
Transylvania claimed the No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 Defiance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Transylvania University's Beck Center. The Pioneers swept the Yellow Jackets during their regular season matchups. Transylvania and Defiance have both earned a 6-4 mark down the stretch heading into the tournament. The winner of Tuesday night's game will advance to the semifinals to face Bluffton at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Friday evening.
The HCAC tournament championship game will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at Rose-Hulman's Hulbert Arena.
Admission to the HCAC Tournament is available for $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and non-HCAC affiliated students. Children under 3 and HCAC students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid campus identification.
Semifinals - Friday, Feb. 24 (at Rose-Hulman)
No. 1 Rose-Hulman vs. No. 4/5 Winner, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Bluffton vs. No. 3/6 Winner, 8 p.m.
Championship - Saturday, Feb. 25 (at Rose-Hulman)