League co-champion Sam Houston State will be the No. 2 seed in the 2013 Southland Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, which gets underway Wednesday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
This year's tournament marks the highest post-season league seeding for an SHSU women's team as the Bearkats earned their first Southland Conference regular season title trophy in the program's 26 years as a Southland member.
Oral Roberts, which won a share of the regular-season championship in its first season in the Southland, earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament by virtue of its tiebreaker against Sam Houston State.
As the top two seeds, the Bearkats and ORU both earn a bye to the semifinals of the conference tournament and will first see action Friday.
Sam Houston will play at 1:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of the quarterfinal game matching No. 3 seed Lamar versus the winner of the Stephen F. Austin-Central Arkansas first round matchup.
The ORU Golden Eagles won six of their last seven games to close out the regular season and finish with a 16-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Southland. ORU hopes to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.
Sam Houston State won four of their last five to finish the regular season 17-13 with a 13-5 Southland record.
The Bearkats made their first Division I postseason trip last season when it advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational. Sam Houston is making its fourth consecutive and its 13th overall appearance in the conference tournament.
Lamar finished the regular season as the only Southland team to reach the 20-win plateau, posting a 20-9 overall record to go with a 12-6 record in league play. .
The first four games of the women's tournament will be streamed live for free on the Southland Conference Digital Network, including Southland.org and the league's iPhone and Android Apps. The semifinals and championship game of the women's tournament will be available solely on ESPN3.
Tickets to the tournament are available now on www.gobearkats.com/tickets and Monday at the Bowers Stadium SHSU athletic ticket office beginning at 8 a.m. This is the sixth consecutive year for the event to be played at the Leonard E. Merrell Center.
The complete women's tournament schedule:
Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 8 Northwestern State vs. No. 5 McNeese State (SLCDN), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 7 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 6 Central Arkansas (SLCDN), 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 14
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. No. 4 Nicholls (SLCDN), 11 a.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 2 vs. No. 3 Lamar (SLCDN), 1:30 p.m.
Friday, March 15
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. No. 1 Oral Roberts (ESPN3), 11 a.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. No. 2 Sam Houston State (ESPN3), 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 16
Championship Game (ESPN3), 1 p.m.