You’d think getting to the Elite Eight in the Women’s NCAA Division II championship tournament might be the best thing about coming to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

It is.

But so is playing new competition you haven’t seen instead of the same old conference foes you’ve played three or four times already.

“I think that’s one of the most special things about it, you get so used to your opponent, whether it’s the regular conference season or even if you go the regional, you know a lot about your opponent," said Lisa Carlsen, coach of the Lewis Flyers. "But getting the opportunity to play someone you know very little about, it makes you go back to being who you really are. ‘Cause if you’re good enough to get here you have to be who you are. And if you’re good enough, you’ll win and if not and then you get beat.”

The eight NCAA DII coaches in the tournament held a news conference at the Pentagon Monday afternoon.

Another thing they like are the facilities at the Pentagon, which includes lots of other courts for pregame warm-ups and shoot arounds--and it’s “feel.”

“I think the venue is phenomenal and just top of the line, and our players were really impressed," said LeAnn Freeland of the Nova Southeastern Sharks. "I know it’s a new facility, but it still has that “old school” feel. And being from the Midwest I really appreciate that. So, kudos to the architects.”

The first round games begin Tuesday. The pairings are:

In the Noon game, Nova Southeastern University from Florida versus California of Pennsylvania.

In the 2:30 PM game: Emporia State University from Kansas versus West Texas A & M.

In the 6:00 PM game: California Baptist versus New Haven from Connecticut.

And in the final first round game at 8:30 PM: Limestone from South Carolina versus Lewis from Illinois.

West Texas A & M took second in the tournament last year.

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