Comet Basketball Teams Sweep Conference Titles, Earn NCAA Berths
Women's Squad Will Host First Two Rounds of NCAA Tournament Starting Friday at the Activity Center
For the first time since 2014, the UT Dallas men’s basketball team won the American Southwest Conference tournament. The Comets will play Pomona-Pitzer in the first round of the NCAA Division III National Tournament on Friday in Walla Walla, Washington.
NCAA Division III National Tournament
Site: UT Dallas Activity Center
Pairings: (5 p.m. Friday) Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. Rhodes; (7 p.m. Friday) UT Dallas vs. Texas Lutheran; (7 p.m. Saturday) Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner.
Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 2 will be admitted free.
Online: Live video and stats for all three games will be available at utdcomets.com.
Site: Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington)
Pairings (all times are Pacific Standard): (5:30 p.m. Friday) Pomona-Pitzer vs. UT Dallas; (7:30 p.m. Friday) Whitman vs. Texas Lutheran; (7 p.m. Saturday) Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner.
Online: Live video and stats for all three games will be available at https://athletics.whitman.edu/
For the first time, The University of Texas at Dallas men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for the NCAA Division III tournaments in the same season.
The Comet men (24-4) secured their first postseason berth since 2014 by winning the American Southwest Conference (ASC) tournament as the host, lifting the trophy after an 88-74 victory over Hardin-Simmons University on Saturday at the Activity Center.
The same day, the Comet women (24-4) were in Belton, Texas, beating host the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor 63-58 to earn their fourth ASC crown in seven seasons and notch their 15th straight victory.
On Monday, the women’s team learned it will host first- and second-round games in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons. The Comets, ranked No. 16 in the country by D3hoops.com, will open play Friday against Texas Lutheran University (19-9). In the other pairing at the Activity Center, No. 12-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor (25-3) will face Rhodes College (17-11).
Meanwhile, the UT Dallas men will travel to Walla Walla, Washington, to face Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (25-2) on Friday in the first round of the national tournament. The Sagehens are ranked No. 11 by D3hoops.com. If the Comets prevail, their second-round game would be against either host school Whitman College (26-1), ranked second nationally, or Texas Lutheran (18-10).
Junior guard Dimitrius Underwood earned Most Valuable Player honors at the ASC men’s tournament, averaging 21.3 points and 11.7 rebounds across three games. He had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the final against the Cowboys, who were put away by a 15-4 Comets’ run early in the second half.
“Our guys really rose to the occasion,” men’s coach Terry Butterfield said. “There isn’t anything like playing in the NCAAs because it sets you apart. It’s the thrill of a lifetime, and I’m really proud that our guys are going to get that chance.”
In the ASC women’s final, the Comets shut out the Cru in the final minute-and-a-half to break a 58-all tie. In the fourth quarter, Mary Hardin-Baylor tied the game twice but never overtook the Comets. Junior guard Victoria Pena had a game-high 19 points to cap her tournament-MVP weekend.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” women’s coach Polly Thomason said of the championship before praising Pena as the team’s leader: “Making plays for us offensively, being solid defensively, leading our team and keeping us focused — that’s what we’ve needed from her, and she’s been big-time for us.”