MSUB set to host 10-team Women’s Basketball ‘Tip Off at the Trailhead’ Tournament | SWX Right Now

Editor’s note: MSUB Sports Information Release. 

BILLINGS, Mont. – Kicking off the 2021-22 season with one of the premier NCAA Division II events, the Montana State University Billings women’s basketball team is set to host the D2CCA Tip Off at the Trailhead tournament November 5-7.

The 15-game, three-day event will showcase 10 of the top women’s basketball programs in the country and will be the largest women’s basketball tournament ever hosted by the Yellowjacket program. “I was very excited to hear MSUB was chosen to host the D2 CCA Women’s Basketball Tipoff Classic for 2021 & 2023,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin, who enters his 18th season in charge of the program. “Originally, I was hoping to acquire 4-6 teams but to have 10 teams coming now for the tourney is amazing. We have teams representing six different NCAA D2 conferences and from all over the United States and Canada. The level of play will be incredible and our basketball program will benefit from this special event. I truly hope people will attend as the Tipoff Classic will be awesome for both MSUB and our community. I really wanted to get this event to Billings to showcase women’s basketball on a national stage, and November 5th can’t come soon enough.”

The D2CCA Tip Off at the Trailhead is sponsored by Visit Billings, the city’s local tourism bureau. “Visit Billings could not be more excited to partner with MSU Billings Athletics in their team’s efforts to welcome this invitational event this winter,” said Alex Tyson, executive director of Visit Billings. “Women’s basketball is such an important sport to Montana and Wyoming. To be able to host these top teams in a pre-season tournament is great economically for Billings, but will also offer some amazing competition for fans to enjoy at Alterowitz Gym.”

Other tournament sponsors include Home 2 Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Sodexo, and Dynamic Designs. Additional sponsorship opportunities for the event remain available by contacting Hollie West at [email protected].

The tournament field includes teams from seven different states and six different conferences, including two-time reigning NCAA Division II national champion Lubbock Christian University which went 23-0 en route to defending its national title last March. All games at the tournament will be played at Alterowitz Gym on the MSUB campus. A full tournament schedule is included at the end of this release.

The tournament host Yellowjackets will take on Minot State University on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., before facing the challenge of the reigning national champion Chaparrals at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. MSUB will close the tournament by hosting Kutztown University on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets for the tournament will be available for purchase in advance online at a discounted rate, and will also be available for purchase at the door. Tournament programs, merchandise, and a full menu of concessions will also be available throughout the three-day event.

Live coverage will also be available for all 15 games at the tournament. Live video with play-by-play commentary will be featured on the MSUB Sports YouTube channel, and live statistics for each game will be available online here.

Team Capsules


Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets

Location: Billings, Montana

Conference: Great Northwest Athletic Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 5-3 (0-0 GNAC)


The host for the tournament, the Yellowjackets’ 2020-21 season was limited to just eight games due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Yellowjackets did not play any conference contests in their most recent season, but managed to complete a winning record including a 2-2 mark against fellow GNAC opponent Northwest Nazarene University. While Saturday’s matchup will be the first ever between MSUB and Lubbock Christian, the teams crossed paths at the 2018 NCAA D2 Elite Eight in MSUB’s most recent trip to the postseason.


Kutztown University Golden Bears

Location: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Conference: Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 0-0 (0-0 PSAC)


The Golden Bears’ most recent appearance on the court was March 2, 2020 at the PSAC Championships. Kutztown’s 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the team eagerly awaits its return to the floor this winter. Kutztown went 18-11 overall during the 2019-20 season and was 15-7 in PSAC play to take third place. After facing the two Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference teams at the tournament – University of Mary and Minot State University – Kutztown will close the event with its first-ever meeting against the Yellowjackets.


Lubbock Christian University Chaparrals

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Conference: Lone Star Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 23-0 (13-0 LSC) – National Champion


The coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop the Chaparrals from winning their third national title, as they became the first program in Division II history to go undefeated in two different seasons. LCU knocked off No. 2 Drury 69-59 in the national title game last March to win its second straight title, after winning the national title in 2019 in double overtime. One of the most successful programs in the NCAA, LCU has been to three consecutive Elite Eight tournaments dating back to the 2017-18 season.


Minot State University Beavers

Location: Minot, North Dakota

Conference: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 4-10, 4-8 NSIC


The Beavers’ season was abbreviated to 14 games due to the pandemic, and after a slow start Minot State rallied to win two of its final five contests to close the shortened year. Twelve of the team’s 14 games played were against conference opponents, with MSU going 4-8 in league play and tying for sixth place in the NSIC North division. After opening the tournament with the host Yellowjackets – against whom they are 1-1 all time – the Beavers will have their first-ever matchups against Kutztown and Nova Southeastern.


Nova Southeastern University Sharks

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Conference: Sunshine State Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 0-0 (0-0 SSC)


The pandemic wiped out the Sharks’ 2020-21 campaign, as their last time out was at the 2020 SSC Championships where their campaign ended with a loss to Saint Leo. The team played its way to an even 14-14 record in 2019-20 and went 10-10 in SSC action to tie for fourth place. The Sharks will open the tournament with their second-ever meeting against Simon Fraser, having lost the initial contest between the programs. NSU’s games against University of Mary and Minot State will be the first-ever meetings between the teams.


Seton Hill University Griffins

Location: Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Conference: Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 0-0 (0-0 PSAC)


Seton Hill did not compete during the most recent season due to the pandemic. The team went 14-15 overall during the 2019-20 season and was 8-14 in PSAC action to take sixth place in the western division. The team’s last appearance on the court was on March 2, 2020 with a loss to Edinboro in the opening round of the PSAC Championships. The D2CCA Tip Off at the Trailhead will provide Seton Hill, which joined the NCAA in 2007, with three first-time opponents in Tampa, Simon Fraser, and University of Mary.


Simon Fraser University Clan

Location: Burnaby, British Columbia

Conference: Great Northwest Athletic Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 0-0 (0-0 GNAC)


An inability to cross the U.S./Canada border combined with the pandemic prevented Simon Fraser from playing any games during the 2020-21 season. SFU put together a solid 18-13 record in 2019-20, and went 13-7 in GNAC play to tie for fourth place and qualify for the conference tournament. SFU’s last time on the court was a first-round GNAC loss to Central Washington on March 5, 2020. Simon Fraser is 1-0 all-time against Nova Southeastern, 1-1 against Montevallo, and will be playing Seton Hill for the first time in school history.


University of Mary Marauders

Location: Bismarck, North Dakota

Conference: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 5-9 (5-7 NSIC)


The Marauders played 14 games during the coronavirus-shortened 2020-21 season, 12 of which were against NSIC opponents. Mary ended its season with back-to-back victories over Minot State University, and took fifth place in the NSIC northern division. In the team’s last full season, Mary went 22-11 overall and 15-7 in NSIC play during the 2019-20 campaign. Mary will open the tournament against Kutztown, before its first-ever meetings with Nova Southeastern and Seton Hill.


University of Montevallo Falcons

Location: Montevallo, Alabama

Conference: Gulf South Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 14-7 (13-4 PBC)


Montevallo made the most of the pandemic-impacted season, going 14-7 overall and taking second place in the Gulf South Conference eastern division at 13-4 in league play. The Falcons’ strong season came to an end in the opening round of the NCAA D2 South Region Championships, as they fell to Union University 70-65. The team enters the 2021-22 season coming off back-to-back winning campaigns, as it went 18-11 overall during the 2019-20 season. After its first-ever meeting with Lubbock Christian to open the tournament, Montevallo will face Simon Fraser (1-1 all-time record) and Tampa (2-2 all-time record) on the final two days.


University of Tampa Spartans

Location: Tampa, Florida

Conference: Sunshine State Conference

2020-21 Season Record: 7-0 (0-0 SSC)

Tampa played just seven games during the coronavirus-shortened 2020-21 season, but the Spartans went undefeated all within the span of three weeks. The strong performance was no surprise after a 24-5 record in 2019-20, including a mark of 19-1 in Sunshine State Conference play to claim the league title. Overall Tampa has enjoyed three straight winning seasons entering the 2021-22 calendar. Tampa is 2-2 all-time against its Saturday opponent Montevallo, but will be seeing Seton Hill and Lubbock Christian for the first time.