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Jackson Rotary Classic to feature six ranked teams for third straight year

JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/18/2008 - The Jackson Rotary Club will host their 15th Annual Jackson Rotary Basketball Classic, and for the sixth straight season, Union University’s Fred DeLay Gymnasium will be the site. The Rotary Classic begins Thursday, Nov. 20 and goes through Saturday, Nov. 22.

The Jackson Rotary Classic will benefit the Madison Haywood Developmental Services, Youth Town of Tennessee, and will also fund scholarships for students from each of the high schools in Madison County.

Year after year, the Jackson Rotary Classic has featured some of the NAIA’s best talent in women’s basketball. The fans of West Tennessee and many from across the nation often get a preview of the same teams that make their way back to Jackson in March for the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament at Oman Arena.

For the third straight season, since the classic expanded to six teams in 2003, the entire field of six is ranked in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 rankings. This season, the classic boasts three of the top six teams, and four of the top nine teams in the NAIA. This year’s field includes No. 1 Union (Tenn.) University, No. 3 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University, No. 6 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) University, No. 9 Lambuth (Tenn.) University, No. 13 Saint Xavier (Ill.) University, and No. 24 Loyola (La.) University.

All six teams in this year’s classic participated in the 2008 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament in Jackson last March. Four of the teams advanced to the second round, three of the teams advanced to the quarterfinals, and two teams (Union, Freed-Hardeman) advanced to the semifinals.

In fact, each of the last five NAIA women’s basketball national champions has played in the Jackson Rotary Classic the year they won the title (Southern Nazarene 2004, Union 2005 & 2006, Lambuth 2007, and Vanguard 2008).

The same could easily happen again in March of 2009 as these teams work to get back to Jackson for the national tournament. This year’s Rotary Classic field has combined for 56 total national tournament appearances, posting a combined record of 81-53 (.604). They have advanced to 13 semifinals appearances (Union 9, Freed-Hardeman 2, Lambuth 1, and Azusa Pacific 1). Included in the 13 trips to the final four, the field has also produced four national titles (Union 3, Lambuth 1) and two national runner-up finishes (Union 2).

Union leads the field with a 0.753 (49-16) national tournament winning percentage, including a 16-2 record in the last four national tournaments (producing four semifinal appearances, and two national titles). Only two other current NAIA teams (Southern Nazarene-7 and Oklahoma City-4) have won more NAIA Women’s Basketball National Titles that Union’s three championships. Southwestern Oklahoma, a current NCAA DII school, won five titles during the time in the NAIA.

For more information on the Rotary Classic, visit the link above.

2008 Jackson Rotary Classic Participating Teams and Schedule TEAMS | Opponent Websites
Azusa Pacific University - Azusa, Calif.
Freed-Hardeman University - Henderson, Tenn.
Lambuth University - Jackson, Tenn.
Loyola University-New Orleans - New Orleans, La.
Saint Xavier University - Chicago, Ill.
Union University - Jackson, Tenn.

Thursday, Nov. 20
5:00 pm: Union vs. Loyola
7:00 pm: Freed-Hardeman vs. Saint Xavier
9:00 pm: Lambuth vs. Azusa Pacific

Friday, Nov. 21
5:00 pm: Lambuth vs. Loyola
7:00 pm: Union vs. Saint Xavier
9:00 pm: Freed-Hardeman vs. Azusa Pacific

Saturday, Nov. 22
5:00 pm: Freed-Hardeman vs. Loyola
7:00 pm: Lambuth vs. Saint Xavier
9:00 pm: Union vs. Azusa Pacific

NAIA National Tournament History for the 2008 Rotary Classic Field
Team Appearances W-L Record 1st Place - 2nd Place - 3rd Place

Azusa Pacific 10 3-11 (.214) 0 - 0 - 1
Freed-Hardeman 12 16-12 (.571) 0 - 0 - 2
Lambuth 6 9-5 (.642) 1 - 0 - 0
Loyola 3 2-3 (.400) 0 - 0 - 0
Saint Xavier 6 2-6 (.250) 0 - 0 - 0
Union** 19* 49-16 (.753) 3 - 2 - 4
* - Ties the all-time record for appearances with Wayland Baptist (Texas) University
** - Union holds the record with 17 straight national tournament appearances


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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