Top-seeded CCRI now hosting this weekend’s Region XXI Women’s Basketball Tournament
Due to this weekend’s inclement weather forecast in western Massachusetts, the 2022-23 NJCAA Division III Region XXI Women’s Basketball Tournament has been relocated from Holyoke Community College to the home of the tournament’s No. 1 seed, the Community College of Rhode Island.
Saturday’s semifinal round and Sunday’s championship finale will be played at CCRI’s Warwick Field House. All three games will stream live via CCRI’s official YouTube channel: youtube.com/ccriathletics.
No. 3 seed UConn Avery Point and No. 2 seed Massasoit kick off Saturday’s semifinal doubleheader at noon, followed by the No. 7 nationally-ranked and No. 1 seed Knights against No. 4 seed Bristol Community College at 2 pm. The winners face one another Sunday at 1 pm in the championship game with an automatic berth in this year’s NJCAA D-III National Championships at stake.
This is now the second year in a row the regional tournament is being held at CCRI; the Knights also earned the top seed in 2021-22 and won the tournament to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in nine years.
Twelve teams qualify for the NJCAA D-III tournament – eight regional tournament winners and four at-large bids. Although the Knights sit comfortably at No. 7 in the nation entering this weekend, having dropped three spots from No. 4 over the past two weeks, upsets in other regional tournaments may make earning an at-large bid even more difficult, thus heightening the urgency for the Knights to take care of business this weekend.
“This is a very big tournament because of the stakes involved, which is a berth to the National Tournament,” said CCRI head coach Doug Haynes. “We are focused, and hopefully everyone is well rested and we can get into a running game.”
CCRI finished the regular season 19-6 overall and 9-0 regional play for the second consecutive season. The Knights haven’t lost a regular-season game to a regional opponent since the 2018-19 season and finished 6-0 against the other three teams in this year’s regional tournament. CCRI beat Bristol and UConn Avery Point by an average score of 61.5 points per game, but fought tooth and nail twice against Massasoit, winning 74-64 at home on January 12 and 73-67 on the road January 31.
Elsewhere in D-III, Rochester Community College dropped from No. 1 in the nation to No. 3 in this week’s poll after suffering its first loss of the season in the Region XIII championship to Riverland, which moved up from No. 9 to No. 6 following the victory. No. 4-ranked Minnesota West, which lost only three games in the regular season, lost to previously-unranked Anoka-Ramsey in the Region XIIIB championship. With Riverland and Anoka-Ramsey securing automatic berths, Rochester and Minnesota West will now likely scoop up two of the four at-large bids, making this rest of this weekend’s regional tournament championships even more important for the small handful of schools on the bubble.