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Women's basketball wins NCCAA North Central regional

Women's basketball wins NCCAA North Central regional

GREENVILLE, Ill. -- The women's basketball team qualified for it's first NCCAA national tournament in close a decade as they were 70-55 winners over Northwestern on Saturday to gain the NCCAA North Central regional championship.

Taylor Paulin tied her career high with 25 points as she lit up the scoreboard with over one-third of Greenville's points in her final game at H.J. Long Gymnasium.  She also led Greenville with six rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

The Lady Panthers led through the majority of the game, taking a seven point first quarter deficit and turning it into a 15-11 lead by the end of the first period.  The score stood at 40-28 at halftime.

Northwestern trimmed Greenville's lead to eight, 51-43, by the end of the third quarter, and they got as close as seven points in the fourth quarter before the Lady Panthers pulled away with a 19-12 final stanza.

Claire Schmitt posted a solid performance in her final appearance on Greenville's home court.  She had 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

Laura Goodnight added 11 points.

With the victory, the Lady Panthers (20-9) reached 20 wins for the sixth time in school history and second straight season.  Only the 1979-80 Greenville College women's basketball team has won more than 20 games in a single season.

The NCCAA national tourney appearance will mark the second straight season that the team will conclude their year in a season-ending national tournament.  Last season, the Lady Panthers were SLIAC tournament winners to gain the conference's automatic qualifying position in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

The 2017 NCCAA national tournament will begin on Wednesday, March 15, at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.  The Lady Panthers will be guaranteed a game on Wednesday, Thursday, and either Friday or Saturday.