INDIANAPOLIS (GoThunderWolves.com – Feb. 19, 2014)— The Colorado State University-Pueblo women's basketball program is in prime position to qualify for the NCAA Division II Tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years as the ThunderWolves were ranked third in the first set of the South Central Regional rankings, released Wednesday by the Division II Women's Basketball Committee.
The rankings, which will be updated on each of the next two Wednesdays before the final selections will be announced on Sunday, Mar. 9, will eventually shape the bracket for the regional portion of the tournament to be contested Mar. 14, 15 and 17 at the top seed.
The top 8 teams in the final rankings will qualify for the regional tournament, although the winning teams from each of the three conference tournaments in the region can "steal" spots away even if they are not amongst the top eight ranked teams as automatic qualifiers.
"I'm certainly happy to this point," ninth-year Pack head coach Kip Drown said about the ranking, but cautioned, "There is still so much basketball to play and a lot is going to happen. We still have to go out and win, but considering everything, I feel good about where we are as a team right now."
The Pack have an 18-6 overall record with four regular season games and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament remaining. All of their games have been "in-region" contests.
West Texas A&M, out of the Lone Star Conference, leads the rankings and sports a 19-1 overall and 17-1 in-region record while RMAC-leading Colorado Mesa is ranked second despite a perfect 22-0 overall and in-region record.
The LSC is also represented by No. 4 Tarleton State (Texas), No. 6 Texas Woman's, No. 7 Midwestern State (Texas) and No. 10 Angelo State (Texas).
Fort Lewis, a team the Pack swept in the regular season, is ranked eighth as the third RMAC team in the top 10 while Texas A&M-International and St. Mary's (Texas), slotted in the No. 6 and 9 spots, respectively, represent the Heartland Conference.
The Pack, who sport a 16-3 RMAC record, are on the road this week facing Black Hills State (12-11, 11-8 RMAC) and Chadron State (4-19, 4-15 RMAC) on Friday (Feb. 21) and Saturday (Feb. 22), respectively. They then close out the regular season with home games against Metro State (11-11, 10-8 RMAC) and Regis (13-9, 11-7 RMAC) on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 and will open the RMAC Shootout at home on Tuesday, Mar. 4.