BILLINGS – The No. 17 Rocky Mountain College women’s basketball team will open the 2018 NAIA DI Women’s Basketball Championship on Wednesday with an 8 p.m. game against No. 13 University of Science & Arts Oklahoma. The game will be played at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark after the conclusion of the NAIA Parade of Champions.
All 31 games of the tournament will be played at Rimrock Auto Arena with the first round taking place over Wednesday and Thursday. The second round takes place on Friday with the quarterfinals scheduled for Saturday. The two semifinal games are set for March 19 and the championship game on March 20.
The first 30 games of the tournament will be streamed live on NAIANetwork.com for a fee. The championship game will be carried live on ESPN3. All games will also have live stats available through DakStats.
Rocky enters the 2018 Championship with a 23-8 overall record and falling to Carroll in the Frontier Conference Championship Game. The Battlin’ Bears are just 4-5 in their last nine games. They finished third in the Frontier Conference with an 11-7 record. The Battlin’ Bears won their only neutral site game this year and finished 13-6 in all games played outside of the Fortin Education Center.
This is Rocky’s third appearance in the NAIA Championship all-time. They are 0-2 in those previous trips, including a 62-52 loss to top-seed Freed-Hardeman is last year’s first round at MetraPark. The team’s first appearance came in 1988 when current Associate Director of Athletics Jeff Malby led the team on a trip to Kansas City, Mo.
Rocky enters the week averaging 65.55 points per game to rank fourth in the Frontier Conference. They make 42.0 percent from the field and lead the Frontier at 33.9 percent from beyond the arc. The team averages 6.29 made 3-pointers per game while getting 13.07 assists with a 1.03 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Battlin’ Bears rank third in the NAIA by holding opponents to 51.29 points per game and their 14.26 scoring margin is 13th in the country. Rocky opponents shoot 35.4 percent from the field – 15th in the NAIA – and the Rocky is eighth in the country by holding the opposition to 26.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Mikayla Jones leads Rocky in scoring with her 12.3 points per game average. She leads the team and ranks 11th in the NAIA with 75 steals while her 2.42 steals per game average is 21st in the nation. Jones also sits 50th in the NAIA by converting at 35.5 percent from three.
Brooke Jones averages 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds to rank second on the team in each category. She shoots 49.0 percent from the field while adding 37 steals and 17 blocked shots. Brooke Jones has scored in double figures 19 times.
Hailee Farstveet is scoring 9.3 points per game after scoring in double figures in 15 of the past 17 games. She leads the team with 115 assists – 22nd in the country – and her 3.71 assists per game rank 34th in the NAIA. Farstveet has scored 859 points in her Rocky career and she has 1,185 career points in the NAIA when you add the 326 she scored for Dickinson State as a freshman.
Science & Arts earned its way to Billings by winning the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season title. The Drovers are 28-5 overall and had their eight-game winning streak snapped with its loss to Oklahoma City in the SAC Championship Game. Dierra Ely leads the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game while Darian Hill adds 11.8. The team is ninth in the NAIA with 135 blocked shots and they are 13th with a 44.2 field goal percentage.
Wednesday Rocky/Science & Arts winner will play on Friday at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of Freed-Hardeman and The Master’s.