With a pair of 10-2 conference records, Worcester State and Westfield State each earned a share of the 2018-19 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Championship. Worcester earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MASCAC Women’s Basketball Tournament based on the league’s tiebreaking procedure. The tournament begins with the quarterfinals on Tuesday, February 19.
There are two quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday with the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds serving as hosts. No. 3 seed Bridgewater State will host No. 6 seed Fitchburg State at 7:30 p.m. and No. 4 seed Framingham State will host No. 5 seed Salem State at 7 p.m.
The two winners will advance to the semifinals on Thursday, February 21 to match up with the two regular-season champions. The winner of the Framingham/Salem game will travel to Worcester at 7 p.m., while the winner of Bridgewater/Fitchburg heads to Westfield at 7:30 p.m.
The semifinal winners will meet on Saturday, February 23 at the highest remaining seed to determine the tournament champion which will earn the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament.
The Lancers earned the top seed in the tournament based on the conference’s tiebreaking procedure. Worcester and Westfield split their head-to-head regular-season series offering no relief in the first tiebreaker. However when it came to competition against conference teams in descending order of finish, Worcester came out on top by virtue of sweep over third-seeded Bridgewater against Westfield’s split with the Bears.
As the top seed in the tournament, Worcester earns a bye into the semifinals. The Lancers feature a balanced attack with three student-athletes averaging double-figures in Kate Surprenant (12.3 ppg), Brittany Herring (12.2), and Kaitlyn Berkel (11.8). Herring is also the most efficient shooter in the league with a conference-leading 68% field goal percentage.
Second-seeded Westfield earns at least a share of the regular-season title for the sixth straight year. The Owls’ up-tempo offense is led by Lucy Barrett who averages a league-leading 18.8 ppg. She also leads the league in steals with 73.
No. 3 seed Bridgewater, which enters the tournament after an 8-4 regular season, gets solid contributions from Kailyn Aguiar who is currently second in the league in shooting percentage (58.7%). Aguiar is also third in the conference in rebounding averaging nine boards per contest.
Framingham had a 7-5 season to earn the fourth seed in this year’s bracket. Framingham’s top scorer is Mary Kate O’Day who ranks third in the conference at 18.0 ppg. The Rams also get contributions form Emily Velozo and Tiphani Harris who average 14.8 and 11.5 ppg, respectively.
Salem’s 4-8 record landed the Vikings in the fifth slot in this year’s tournament. Their top performer is Kia Fernandes who is in the top five in the conference in a number of statistical categories. She is second in rebounding (10.6 rpg), second in blocks (54), fifth in scoring (15.3 ppg), and fifth in field goal percentage (47.8%).
Rounding out the tournament field is 2-10 Fitchburg. The Falcons feature the top rebounder in the conference in Catherine Coppinger. She averages 13.4 rpg. She is also a great disrupter on defense, coming away with 58 steals this year, good for third in the conference.
During the 2018 Tournament Championship, top-seeded Westfield knocked off No. 2 seed Framingham State, 90-75, to claim its third-straight MASCAC title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.