HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The Bearkats are one of eight teams selected to the event, joining Central Missouri, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Fairleigh Dickinson. The announcement of the field was made on NCAA.com's webcast Wednesday afternoon.
The NCAA Elite Eight will be held Thursday through Saturday, April 11-13 at the Super Bowl Complex in Canton, Michigan.
In 2011, Sam Houston became the first inaugural program to earn a berth in the national tournament. But in 2012, the Bearkats just missed making a return trip. Now the Kats are back.
“More than anything, today represents redemption for this program,” SHSU head coach Brad Hagen. “Missing out of the NCAA last year was tough. This season the girls came back with an attitude that they wanted to prove exactly what we were capable of. We set our goal on returning to the NCAA and did just the right things to get there.”
During the 2012-13 season Sam Houston has compiled an overall record of 97 victories and 36 losses. That includes a 39-26 record against teams in the top 20. The Bearkats have posted 15 wins against the other seven teams in the NCAA field this year.
“This is absolutely amazing,” junior Neishka Cardona said. “We really felt like we had a great season and expected to get in. But, about 30 minutes before the selection show, we were all nervous. Having been here the first year and getting to go to the NCAA, then missing last year, I really wanted to go back. And now we are.”
Cardona has been named all-tournament three times. She and her teammates posted tournament wins at the Tulane Invitational, the Alabama Hornet Classic, the Track Kat Clash in Huntsville, the Bowie State Classic and the Southern Intercollegiate.
“We’re loving the chance to go back to the NCAA,” junior Kimi Davidson, also a member of each of the past three Bearkat teams, said. “We have more motivation and experience this year. Having been there once before, we know we have to keep our emotions in check and stay focused on what we have to do.
Sam Houston finished seventh in the 2011 NCAA Women's Bowling event. The Bearkats are the No. 6 seed in the 2013 tournament.
“We felt good about our chances today and now we know we’re in,” Hagen said. “This time it’s not just about getting into the tournament. We have more experience on this team and more depth. Now we need to concentrate on getting the job done at the national tournament.”