Azusa Pacific University will be the fourth seed in the NCAA Divi­sion II Women’s Basketball West Regional, tipping off this weekend at Colorado Mesa.

Paige Uyehara

APU’s Cougars, who won the PacWest Southern California pod with a 10-4 overall record, will take on fifth-seed Hawaii Pacific on Fri­day, March 12, at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.

Hawaii Pacific enters the tourna­ment with a 13-0 record and a 38-game winning streak.

APU has qualified for four con­secutive NCAA Tournaments. The last time the Cougars actually had a chance to play in the tournament was 2019 (the 2020 Regional was cancelled due to the global pandemic), when they entered as the fourth seed and won the Regional, earning a berth to the Elite Eight.

The Cougars are led by a quartet of players who are averaging double figures in scoring: Kayla Shaw (17.8 ppg), Molly Whitmore (15.2 ppg), Paige Uyehara (13.4 ppg) and Kelly Heimburger (12.8 ppg.)

Meanwhile, the Warriors of West­mont College (10-1) are headed to Lewiston, Idaho, to begin play in the 2021 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship. The Warriors are the number two overall seed.

Last year, Westmont was named the number one overall seed the day before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Tsuneishi

Westmont has a first-round bye in the three-team Opening Round bracket. On Friday, March 12, sec­ond-seeded Montana Western and third-seeded Benedictine Mesa will play to determine who will take on Westmont the following day. Game times on both Friday and Saturday have been scheduled for 11 a.m. PST.

Westmont features senior Lauren Tsuneishi, who earned All-GSAC honors for the third consecutive year, finishing the regular season with the highest scoring average of her career at 12.1 points per game. Tsuneishi was Westmont’s most lethal shooter from three-point range, converting more than twice as many as her next-closest teammate, while shooting at a .393 clip (35-89). Her 35 made three-pointers led the GSAC at the end of the regu­lar season.

— APU/Westmont Athletics

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