BILLINGS — The 33-0 Miles Community College women's basketball team will play Walters State on Monday at 1 p.m. Mountain time in the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
The Pioneers are seeded 18th. Walters State, located in Morristown, Tennessee, is the 15th seed and has a 28-4 record. MCC is one of only two undefeated squads in the 24-team field. Wabash Valley (Illinois) is the No. 1 seed with a 31-0 mark.
Despite finishing the previous campaign 25-8, Miles was not ranked in the preseason poll released on Oct. 29. The Pioneers received votes in the next three polls. MCC broke into the rankings on Jan. 8 at No. 22 with a 13-0 record. The next week the Pioneers were ranked No. 21, followed by a week at No. 20 and three weeks at No. 19. The Pioneers were ranked No. 17 in the final two regular-season polls.
MCC is using its tournament seeding as motivation.
"We haven't got a whole lot of respect all year in regards to our undefeated record. We never really climbed up too high in the national rankings," second-year coach Nate Vogel told 406mtsports.com. "We got a worse seed in this tourney than in the final national poll. This is about trying to get some respect."
The winner of the MCC-Walters State contest will move into the second round on Wednesday at 9 a.m. against No. 2 seed Gulf Coast State (Florida), which is 23-5.
The national tournament is March 18-23 at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.