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Women DII College Playoffs This Weekend

College Women

Women DII College Playoffs This Weekend

Future champions? Who knows? Eckerd women in action.

This weekend sees the Women's DII College spring playoffs, with 12 teams in a 1st round an two more getting a bye to the quarterfinals.

All are (we expect) looking for a win April 23 and then a Spring Champion v Fall Champion (Davenport) final in May. Davenport is a formidable opponent, but this run through the playoffs will be good preparation.

In Bellingham, Wash., Western Washington hosts Grand Canyon, Fresno State, and Eastern Washington. 

Fresno State won the West Coast, defeating Santa Clara 64-29 to earn this spot. Jenna Balestra is a try-scoring machine and Moriah Halterman and Jasmine Roberson also have been big scorers for Fresno. They will take on Eastern Washington, who finished 2nd in the Cascade Conference, but it was a distant 2nd to a very strong Western Washington team.

WWU won the Cascade behind the scoring brilliance of Rachel Thorne and JoAnna O'Neill. In the regular season, WWU won four forfeits, and eight games actually played. In those games they averaged 59 points per game and averaged less than seven points per game allowed. They have dominated, and played well doing so, but will be challenged by a tough Grand Canyon team that overcame a couple of mid-season losses to Claremont Colleges and UC Irvine to take the #2 seed out of the Gold Coast. 

In Spartanburg, SC, two brackets are in action. Towson will play 2016 spring winners Tulane. Last year, the success in the playoffs was a bit of a surprise to the Tulane team and they went further than expected. As a result, they couldn't afford the trip to play the Fall-v-Spring final. This year, they know what's required and they are looking at the same run. But Tulane got a bit of a surprise in the SIRC as they lost to Kennesaw State 31-29 in the conference final. Still, Tulane looked pretty solid and will take on Towson in the opening round. South Carolina will take on Eckerd, which rolled through the short Florida conference in dominant fashion.     

Kennesaw State's final with Tulane in th SIRC shows what it's like as you bubble up through the ranks in women's DII college. Both teams were far and away the strongest in their division, but once they met up, were basically even - KSU got through thanks to a game-winner by Caitlane Fricia. This will be the case as we go through the playoffs. This coming weekend could well be the toughest weekend of the season for all concerned. KSU takes on UNC Charlotte, while Kansas State plays Mary Washington. Kansas State is the Mid America champion.

UC Irvine and Santa Clara get byes to the quarterfinals, and will play each other at Irvine.

So how does it look?

WWU has to be favored over GCU, but it won't be an easy job for the Vikings. Fresno State should handle Eastern Washington.

Tulane and Towson will be very close, as will USC v Eckerd.

Kennesaw State has to be favored over UNC Charlotte,

Kansas State probably has the edge of Mary Washington.

See The Rugby Breakdown's Latest DII Women's Rankings here.