SALINA, Kan. — It's go time!
The 2013 NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Tournament begins this morning at 10 at the Bicentennial Center here in Salina, Kan. The Lady Cardinals (32-1) are seeded No. 1 and are one of eight teams in the expanded tournament field of 24 to receive byes in the first round.
Though the Lady Cardinals don't play today, they have a vested interest in the first game. The tournament opener features Weatherford (24-5) against Northeast Nebraska (28-4). The Lady Cardinals will face the winner of that game at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The opening three games highlight the Texas portion of the single-elimination tournament. After the Weatherford-Northeast Nebraska game, Blinn (30-3) plays Kaskaskia, Ill. (24-8) at noon and Midland (26-7) battles Volunteer State, Tenn. (23-4) at 2 p.m.
The defending champion Lady Cardinals arrived in Salina Saturday night just after 8 p.m. Earlier in the day, on the drive up, they worked out at Oklahoma State University. Sunday, they had a shootaround at the Bicentennial Center, which was watched by four other teams. Today, a workout at a high school in Salina is scheduled.
This is the Lady Cardinals' 18th appearance at the nation tournament and the 11th time they have been to Salina, which is hosting the tournament for a 16th time this year. The Lady Cardinals are 49-16 in their previous 17 trips to the tournament.
All Lady Cardinal tournament games will be availabe for viewing online at www.njcaatv.ihigh.com. In fact, all tournament games will be webcast.
Of course you can also keep up with the progress of the Lady Cardinals at the tournament in the Athens Daily Review. The Review is represented at the tournament by sports writer Joe Elerson. Check out the Review's coverage online at www.athensreview.com.
The Lady Cardinals are one of six teams in the tournament this year that were here a year ago, joining Central Arizona, Hutchinson, Walters State, Shelton State and Southwestern Illinois.
Gas prices are lower this year for the 524-mile trip to Salina. Last year they were at an all-time high at $3.65. The average price this year (as of Monday) is $3.46. The lowest price spotted for regular unleaded was $3.24 and the highest was $3.59. Here are prices from the past seven trips to Salina:
2004 -- $1.67
2006 -- $2.42
2008 -- $3.11
2009 -- $1.79
2010 -- $2.67
2011 -- $3.39
2012 -- $3.65
It’s 38 and cloudy in Salina this morning. Today’s high is expected to reach 58. The forecast for later in the week is calling for the chance of rain/snow showers Thursday and Friday.
To all our family and friends back home, have a wonderful day.
— Benny Rogers, TVCC Sports Information