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Up next for Saint Francis: Today vs. Cardinal Stritch

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.

Cougars in first Final Four in eight years

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 4:24 pm

Up next: Today vs. Cardinal Stritch

When: 7 p.m. (EST)

Where: Tyson Events Center, Sioux City, IA

On the air: 1450-AM and video stream link and live stats at saintfranciscougars.com

Records: Saint Francis (36-0), Cardinal Stritch (27-6)

Expected starters for the Cougars: Paige Frisch – 5-7, freshman guard (5.8 ppg); Skylarr Shurn – 5-7 senior guard (20.5 ppg); Brooke Ridley – 5-10 sophomore forward (14.4 ppg); Jenelle Wilson – 5-7 senior guard (13.9 ppg); Kalah Baer – 6-0 senior forward (8.8 ppg).

Update: The Cougars are playing in their first NAIA Division II national semifinal since 2006 and for the fourth time in program history. No. 1 seed Saint Francis has rolled through the national tournament winning three games by nearly 20 points each. With each win the Cougars set a program record for victories and to get to number 37, they'll have to beat a defensive-oriented squad. The No. 5 seed Wolves haven't allowed a team to shoot 34 percent from the field against it in its three tournament wins, and in their quarterfinal victory (82-71) over hometown favorite Morningside, the Wolves forced 23 turnovers and scored 27 points off of those mistakes. This will be a contrast in styles with Cardinal Stritch seeking to keep the game in the 55 to 65 point range, while the Cougars want to turn their defensive pressure into transition baskets. No team has won the national championship unbeaten since Morningside (Iowa) did so in 2009, so Saint Francis is on the cusp of history. The Wolves are paced by 5-foot-10 senior guard Julie Raeder, who is the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Saint Francis is going to try and rely on good defense and not throwing the ball away against the Cardinal Stritch pressure. The Wolves are seeking to share the ball offensively, limiting fast-break opportunities by the Cougars, and keeping Saint Francis off of the glass and off of the free throw line. None of the semifinalists have ever won a national championship, while this is the first time that the Wolves program has advanced this far. Cardinal Stritch stumbled into the tournament with a 4-5 mark in its final nine games in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Saint Francis coach Gary Andrews: "I'm impressed all of the time with how well (my players) listen. They are a team that when I say 'Hey, here is what we are doing,' they try to do what I tell them. That is very refreshing nowadays."