FLUSHING, N.Y. – After winning the program's first-ever NCAA Division II East Regional title, the Queens College women's basketball team will take on Harding University in the Elite Eight on Tuesday, March 21, at 8:30 p.m. EST at Ohio Dominican University's Alumni Hall in Columbus, Ohio. The Knights are seeded fifth in the Elite Eight, while the Lady Bisons are the No. 4 seed.
The winner of Tuesday night's National Quarterfinal will take on the winner of Ashland/West Texas A&M in the National Semifinals on Wednesday, March 22, at 8:30 p.m. The National Championship Game will be Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m. The Elite Eight will be streamed live on NCAA.com, while the National Semifinals and Finals will air on CBS Sports Network.
THE ROAD THROUGH THE EAST REGION
NCAA First Round/East Regional Quarterfinals
No. 2 Queens 69, No. 7 Assumption 48
The Knights dominated on the defensive end, rolling to a 21-point victory over the Greyhounds in the opening round. Madison Rowland scored a game-high 28 points and chipped in eight rebounds. Junior Merrick Rowland added 14 points and was 3-for-5 from deep off the bench for Queens. Freshman Beth Bonin tallied 10 points, while redshirt senior MacKenzie Rowland finished with seven points, 12 rebounds and five assists. The Knights forced Assumption into 20 turnovers and capitalized with 23 points off those turnovers. Queens outscored Assumption, 28-13, in the third quarter and shot 64.7 percent in the period.
NCAA Second Round/East Regional Semifinals
No. 2 Queens 77, No. 6 USciences 67
Once again, defense was key for the Knights in the Regional Semifinals, holding off the University of the Sciences (USciences) for a 77-67 win. Bonin scored a game-high 25 points and added six rebounds, while Madison added 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with seven rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocks. MacKenzie recorded her 21st double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds, chipping in six assists as well. Queens jumped out to an early lead and held USciences to just 21.7 percent shooting in the first half. The Knights came out firing, shooting 61.5 percent overall in the first quarter, while limiting the Devils to just 20 percent shooting in the opening period.
NCAA Third Round/East Regional Finals
No. 2 Queens 70, No. 5 Molloy 60
The Knights punched their ticket to the Elite Eight with a 70-60 win over Molloy College to secure their first-ever NCAA East Regional Championship. Madison was named East Regional Most Outstanding Player after scoring a game-high 24 points and adding 13 rebounds for her 17th double-double of the season. MacKenzie was also named to the All-Tournament Team after recording her Division II-leading 22nd double-double of the season with 20 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. The defense came through again, as the Knights held the Lions to just 28.0 percent shooting in the first half and 36.7 percent overall for the game. Queens also held a major advantage in rebounds (50-30) and second chance points (21-4).
Madison was honored as the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) East Region Player of the Year on March 14. She also earned a spot on the All-Region First Team, while MacKenzie landed on the All-Region Second Team. Queens was rewarded with three of the four East Coast Conference (ECC) major year-end awards on March 3. Madison was named ECC Player of the Year, the second of her career, last doing so during the 2014-15 season. MacKenzie was honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, while head coach Elizabeth Naumovski garnered ECC Coach of the Year. Both Madison and MacKenzie were also named to the All-ECC First Team.
- Queens is making its first Elite Eight appearance after winning the program's first-ever NCAA East Regional title.
- The Knights set a new program record for wins in a season with 27 thus far on the year, eclipsing the previous mark of 24 during the 2008-09 season.
- Madison has recorded milestone after milestone for the Knights this season. She is the only player in NCAA history to officially record career totals of 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 steals, 400 assists and 100 blocks. In the win over Assumption, she broke her own QC single season scoring record of 607 points and now holds the mark with 678 points thus far this season. Madison became the career leader in points and steals for both Queens and the ECC this season. She is currently in the top 20 in DII history with 2,356 career points and is among the top 5 in career steals with 497. Madison became the first player in program history with 2,000+ points and 1,000+ rebounds on Feb. 18 and currently has 1,064 career rebounds. Additionally, she broke her own program record for steals in a season with 141 thus far on the year.
- MacKenzie has also etched her name into Queens College history this season. She joined the 1,000-point, 1-000 rebound club on Jan. 14, one of only four players in program history to accomplish the task. MacKenzie is second in program history with 1,171 career rebounds and fourth in scoring with 1,721 career points. She is also fourth on the single season rebounds list with 351 this season. MacKenzie ranks among the top 15 in DII history with 22 double-doubles this season.
- Naumovski, the program's all-time leader in wins, achieved her 100th victory at Queens in the Knights' opening-round win over Assumption, becoming the first coach in school history to reach the milestone.
Madison leads Division II with 4.5 steals per game, which is third among all players regardless of division. She leads the ECC and is fifth in the nation in scoring average at 21.9 points per game. MacKenzie is tied for the national lead with 22 double-doubles on the season and has recorded one in eight of her last nine games. MacKenzie leads the ECC and is 10th in DII with 11.3 rebounds per game, and she is second in scoring at 17.5 points per game, while Madison is third in the conference with 10.3 boards per game. The two sisters are also both in the top 5 in the ECC in field goal percentage (Madison 51.2%, MacKenzie 50.0%). Bonin adds 11.1 points per game, while Merrick contributes 8.2 points per contest.
SCOUTING THE LADY BISONS
Harding will also be making its first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight after winning the NCAA Central Regional Championship, entering Columbus on a 16-game win streak. The Lady Bisons erased an 18-point deficit in the second half to topple Emporia State, 58-56, in the Regional Finals. Harding outscored Emporia State, 16-8, in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback. Sydnie Jones led the way for the Lady Bisons with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, making 8-of-11 shots. A'ndrea Haney also tallied 16 points along with five assists, while Caroline Hogue tallied 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Harding's road to the Elite Eight also includes a 66-58 win over Central Missouri in the Regional Semifinals and a 59-46 victory over Arkansas Tech in the opening round. The Lady Bisons sit at 30-3 overall and won the Great American Conference (GAC) Championship, 75-73, over Arkansas Tech after going 21-1 in conference play during the regular season.
THE REST OF THE PACK
Ashland University (34-0) is the top seed in the Elite Eight after rolling to the National Quarterfinals with a perfect record. California Baptist University (34-2), which has won 31 straight games, was tabbed with the No. 2 seed. Columbus State University (31-1) is the No. 3 seed, having won 22 games in a row. The No. 6 seed is Virginia Union University (26-4), the No. 7 seed is the University of West Florida (28-6), and the No. 8 seed is West Texas A&M University (26-8). The first game features Columbus State and Virginia Union at noon, followed by Cal Baptist and West Florida at 2:30 p.m. Ashland and West Texas A&M will face off at 6 p.m. prior to Queens and Harding.
If you can't make it to Ohio, there will be a 'Watch Party' on the Queens College campus on Tuesday night. Join us in the James Muyskens Conference Room at the Summit to watch the QC women's basketball team take on Harding in the Elite Eight. Enjoy free food and music played by a DJ, as we watch the live broadcast of the game.