For the second straight year, the Westfield State Owls claim the number one seed in the 2017 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament which begins on Tuesday with the quarterfinal round.
Third seed Worcester State kicks off the quarterfinal round hosting sixth seed MCLA on Tuesday, February 21 at 5:30 pm while fourth seed Bridgewater State entertains fifth seed Salem State at 7:30 pm.
Second seed Framingham State will face the winner of Worcester State/MCLA on Thursday, February 23 at 6 pm in the first semifinal then top seed Westfield State hosts the winner of Bridgewater State/Salem State in the second semifinal at 7 pm.
The winner of the two semifinal contests will meet on Saturday, February 25 for the MASCAC Tournament Championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Earning the top seed and first round bye for a second straight season, Westfield State closed out the regular season with an 11-1 record in conference play. Leading the Owls was 2016 Player of the Year Jill Valley who closed out the regular season first in the conference in points per game (21.8), total points (502), steals (105) and free throw percentage (83 percent). She also tallied 100 rebounds and 11 blocks this season.
Grabbing the other first round bye with the second seed is Framingham State. The Rams finished the regular season with a 10-2 mark in league action. Alycia Rackliffe netted a league-leading 10.5 rebounds per game, total rebounds at 253 and 182 on the defensive glass. She also had a league-best 77 blocks while also having the seventh most points per game with 13.1.
Worcester State is in the third seed after obtaining an 8-4 record during the MASCAC season. Britt Herring led the Lancers with 193 total rebounds and 55 blocks which were the third most in the MASCAC. She also averaged 7.7 rebounds per game, 12.3 points and shot 53 percent from the field which were all in the top 10 of the conference.
Sitting in the fourth spot is Bridgewater State who finished with a 6-6 mark during the conference season. Rhiana Page was the leading scorer for the Bears, averaging 10.7 points per game with 5.6 rebounds averaged while shooting 50 percent from the field. She also had 35 steals and seven blocks on the year.
Closing out this year's tournament field are Salem State and MCLA with the fifth and sixth seed, respectively. Both team's had three wins during the league season. Norma Waggett ended the regular season third in the MASCAC in points per game (17.7), total points (442) and total rebounds (193) plus fourth in rebounds per game (7.7) while adding 31 steals and 31 assists to her stat sheet. For the Trailblazers, Kayla Hotaling paved the way with 13.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game which were the fifth and second most in the conference at the end of the regular season.
In the 2016 MASCAC Tournament title game, top seed Westfield State beat second seed Framingham State 92-86 to earn the MASCAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.