HARROGATE, Tenn. — For the first time since Lincoln Memorial University jumped from the Gulf South Conference to the South Atlantic Conference prior to the 2006-07 campaign, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will host their quarterfinal match-ups for the Food Lion SAC Championship at Tex Turner Arena. The first-round draws are scheduled for Wednesday with the Lady Railsplitters welcoming Anderson and the Railsplitters entertaining Wingate.
Tickets for Wednesday’s doubleheader are available for $6 for adults and $3 for senior citizens (60+), children under 12 and college students with a valid ID. Adults are eligible for a one-dollar discount by showing a Food Lion MVP Card at the gate. The Lincoln Memorial Office of Student Services is sponsoring admission for the first 150 LMU students with a valid school ID. There will be no complimentary admission as only official South Atlantic Conference passes will be honored.
The Lady Railsplitters (16-10, 15-7 SAC) just completed the most successful regular season for the women’s basketball program since the 2003-04 squad finished 21-8. Lincoln Memorial ripped off a 15-7 mark in SAC play this season, breaking the school record for conference wins while managing a third-place finish in the league standings.
With that effort, the Lady Railsplitters drew six-seeded Anderson, and there is no shortage of storylines surrounding that bout. The Trojans swept the SAC regular season and tournament championships during the 2012-13 campaign and, along the way, swept the Lady Railsplitters in three head-to-head meetings. The final meeting ended Lincoln Memorial’s season with a 76-46 loss in the quarterfinals.
The tables have turned for Wednesday’s match-up as the Lady Railsplitters are looking to replicate Anderson’s antics. Lincoln Memorial captured wins in both regular-season meetings this year, nabbing a 63-50 triumph on Nov. 26 and a 62-58 win on Jan. 8. Since those two teams last met, the Lady Railsplitters have gone 11-4 while the Trojans finished 8-7.
The 13th-ranked Railsplitters (24-2, 20-2 SAC) are once again the top seed for the SAC Championship after claiming the second consecutive SAC regular-season title and third in the last four years under head coach Josh Schertz. Lincoln Memorial drew a familiar foe in an unfamiliar round as the Wingate Bulldogs dropped eight of its last 10 games to plummet to the No.8 seed.
This marks the fourth straight year the Railsplitters and Bulldogs will meet in the SAC Tournament, and two of the three previous meetings came in the title game. LMU and Wingate have won each of the last three SAC tournament titles as LMU won in 2011 and the Bulldogs collected the title in 2012 and 2013.
The Railsplitters handled the Bulldogs in both regular-season match-ups, capturing an 81-67 triumph in Tex Turner on Jan. 11 and rolling to a 79-65 win in Wingate just two weeks ago. Those two outings provide little indication of the quality of this series as eight of the 19 meetings between the two teams since 2007 have been decided by five points or less.
With a win on Wednesday, the men’s and/or women’s team would advance to the semifinals of the Food Lion SAC Championship, which is being held at Furman’s Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday. The Railsplitters would take on the winner of No.4 Lenoir-Rhyne and No.5 Newberry, while the Lady Railsplitters would square off against the winner of No.2 Wingate and No.7 Newberry.
The Lincoln Memorial University athletic department has 50 advance tickets for the semifinal and final rounds of the Food Lion SAC Championship, and those tickets are available to purchase at a discounted rate of $10. Tickets purchased from the LMU athletic department provide admission to all of the games on both Saturday and Championship Sunday. The regular price for an adult ticket at the door is $13 on Saturday and $11 on Sunday. To reserve your tickets for the semifinal and final rounds, contact the LMU athletics office at 423-869-6285.