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Saint Francis begins quest for hoop title against Georgia school

Cougars are ranked second in NAIA entering tourney

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 2:32 am

Reinhardt (Ga.) University will be the first team to put Crossroads League Tournament champion and new NAIA Top 25 No. 2 University of Saint Francis to the test at the 2013 State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship on Wednesday.

The unranked Eagles (19-14) and Cougars (30-3) will tip-off at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Reinhardt finished fifth in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, but was an automatic qualifier after winning the AAC with three straight wins including an upset in the semifinals of regular season champ Milligan (Tenn.), which finished 23-9 overall, 16-2 in the conference.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Saint Francis is making its 14th appearance, while the Eagles are making their first appearance in the tournament.

The Cougars are 61-22 in post-season play and 22-12 in the NAIA Tournament. In each of its past two tourneys, Saint Francis has lost its opening games.

This will be Saint Francis' seventh appearance under coach Gary Andrews. He is in his 12th season with the program and has achieved a 257-131 record.

Reinhardt is paced by Australian Tara Hay. The 5-foot-5 guard leads the Eagles with a 15.1 scoring average.

She was the AAC Tournament MVP, while 6-foot-2 center Taylor Johnson averages 11.6 points per game. Johnson scored 21 in Reinhardt's 59-52 win over Union (Ky.) in the AAC Tournament title game.