On Tuesday night in the PE Center in Helena, Frontier Conference Commissioner Kent Paulson made a prediction.
The commissioner thought four Frontier Conference women’s basketball teams would make the NAIA tournament field in Billings.
Wednesday’s bracket revealing proved him right.
Joining Frontier Conference champion Carroll College and conference runner-up and automatic host qualifier Rocky Mountain College were Montana Western and Providence.
It’s the fourth consecutive season the Frontier has sent four teams to the national tournament.
Carroll (24-7) earned a three-seed and will face William Penn of Iowa (23-8) at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Carroll won the Frontier Conference regular season and postseason to earn an automatic bid to Billings. It’s the third appearance for Carroll in the last four years and ninth overall.
William Penn fell in the Heart of America Conference championship game. The Statesmen finished No. 3 in their conference during the regular season. It’s the second consecutive, and second ever, NAIA tournament for William Penn.
Montana Western (24-8), who bowed out of the Frontier Conference postseason in a semifinals loss to Rocky, earned a No. 4-seed and will take on No. 5-seeded Dillard of Louisiana (23-5) at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season as the second best team in the Frontier, but were upended in the playoffs in Dillon by Rocky Mountain College. It’s the second consecutive berth for the Bulldogs and 10th all-time.
The Lady Bleu Devils of Dillard won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. It’s the seventh ever appearance for the Lady Bleu Devils and their first appearance since 2004.
Host Rocky Mountain College (23-8) earned a No. 5-seed and will take on No. 4-seed Science & Arts of Oklahoma (28-5).
The Battlin’ Bears were assured of an automatic bid as the host, but also put together a remarkable Frontier campaign that culminated in a conference championship loss. It’s Rocky’s third ever appearance in the tournament.
The Drovers of USAO lost in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament finals. After finishing the regular season tied atop the conference standings with the best record, the Drovers fell hard in the tournament final to Oklahoma City, 89-63. It’s the third appearance the NAIA finals for USAO and first appearance since 2008.
Providence (19-11) clawed into the tournament, grabbing a No. 7-seed and set to face No. 2-seed Oklahoma City (28-5).
Providence went through an up-and-down season in the Frontier, at points contending near the top, but then also bowing out early of the Frontier Conference playoffs. It’s the Argonauts third appearance all-time, which have all come within the last four seasons.
Oklahoma City won the Sooner Athletic Conference. The school holds the second most appearances in the tournament all-time, attending the year-end tourney for the 23rd time. It’s the 21st consecutive year Oklahoma City has made the NAIA tournament field.
The 32-team tournament runs March 14-20.