SALINA, Kan. — Providing the fans a sneak preview into the championship game, the two and three seeds of the National Junior College Athletic Association Women's Division 1 Tournament collide Friday at 6 p.m. in the Bicentennial Center.
Second seed Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College enters the contest with a 34-0 record. The Lady Blue Dragons defeated Walters, Tenn., 62-46 on Wednesday to advance to the winner's bracket quarterfinals.
Third seed Central Arizona College of Coolidge stands 31-1 on the year. The Vaqueras opened the double elimination tournament with a 75-53 win over Southwestern Illinois on Tuesday before edging past New Mexico Junior College 61-56 on Wednesday.
Ironically, the two losing teams against Central Arizona are the two opponents that led to the early exit of the Northeastern A&M Lady Norse.
Coach Drew Sanders' New Mexico squad defeated NEO 52-42 on Tuesday before Southwestern Illinois dispatched the Lady Norse by a 62-49 margin on Wednesday.
The No. 6 seed New Mexico Thunderbirds will play in Saturday's fifth-place game at 3 p.m. The Lady Thunderbirds (31-5) eliminated Walters State 46-45 on Thursday.
No. 1 seed Trinity Valley, Texas, of Athens eliminated Shelton State, Ala., 66-59, Thursday evening to remain undefeated on the year with a 34-0 record.
The Lady Cardinals defeated Malcom X, Ill., 88-51 on Tuesday to start the tournament. The Lady Cardinals will face the winner of the Georgia Perimeter-Pensecola, Fla., game played late Thursday at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Central Arizona-Hutchinson winner will play the winner of Friday's Trinity Valley game at 7 p.m. Saturday for the national championship. Trinity Valley leads the NJCAA with five women's national titles with the last one coming in 2004 while Central Arizona has won three crowns with the last one coming in 2009.
Hutchinson, home of the men's Division 1 national tournament, is seeking their first national championship.
Last year, Trinity Valley dropped a 90-81 decision to North Idaho College in the title game.