Carroll Women's Basketball Hosting NCAA Tournament Amid Record Season

Author: Tim Muma

Published Date: 2/27/2024

Categories: Athletics University News

For the first time in Carroll University women's basketball history and just the second time across all sports at the school, the Pioneers (23-4) are hosting an NCAA Tournament game. Carroll will welcome the University of Puget Sound to Van Male Fieldhouse in the opening round of the Divison-III NCAA tournament on Friday, Mar. 1, at 8 p.m. Being a host school for the first two rounds of NCAA March Madness is just another unprecedented achievement for a team that has accomplished incredible feats already this season. The Pioneers' contest on Friday will be their first NCAA tourney appearance since 2007, and they enter the game with several accolades already in hand.

  • Program-record 23 wins 
  • Ranked 13th in D-III, the highest ranking in program history
  • Program-best seven consecutive weeks ranked in the top 25
  • First time the team has won the regular season CCIW conference title and the conference tournament championship

It has been a challenging yet satisfying turnaround for the program in the last eight years under coach Lindsay Schultz. In the 2016-2017 season, the Pios won only one game, finishing the year with a program-worst 1-23 record in Shultz's first season at the helm. Now, she is soaking in the team's and her players' success.

"It is actually really surreal. I know I keep saying that," Schultz said. "We felt like we put in a lot of hard work this season. Got a lot of tough wins, and the CCiW was one of the country's best women's basketball conferences this year."

Carroll is playing its best basketball at the right time, winning nine straight games and 18 of its last 19 contests. The Pioneers also boast one of the best offenses in D-III, ranking ninth in the country in scoring offense (80.4 PPG) while also ranking second in 3-point percentage (.384), fourth in field goal percentage (.482) and sixth in assists (18.6 APG).

The Pioneers' success is driven by the exceptional performances of its key players. Junior guard Olivia Rangel, a unanimous First Team All-Conference selection, is averaging 18.7 points per game, ranking third in the CCIW and 49th in the country. Natalie Gricius, a sophomore forward, recently scored a career-high 31 points in the CCIW Tournament Championship Game. Emilie Wizner, who earned Second Team honors, leads all of D-III in 3-point percentage (.491).

Tickets for the NCAA Division-III Tournament first and second rounds are $15 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens, students and children. Student tickets are permissible for grade school, high school and college students with their student identification. If Carroll wins on Friday night, they will play at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 2, at Van Male Fieldhouse against the winner of Washington University in St. Louis versus the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The victor on Saturday night would advance to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

Panoramic View of campus