Shawnee State Women, 1999 NAIA National Champions
Eleven years after its transition from a community college to a four-year school, Shawnee State University (31-2) won the 1999 NAIA Division II national championship. The Portsmouth school won the American Mideast Conference regular season championship and then defeated five straight tournament opponents to win the NAIA crown. The Bears opened the season with 14 straight victories, lost to St. Vincent and then won 12 straight before losing to Urbana. Led by 6-foot senior center Erica Hayes, Shawnee State had two close calls in the tournament. It squeezed past Northwestern Iowa, 91-89, and South Dakota Tech, 63-59. Coach Robin Hagen-Smith’s Bears clawed St. Francis College, 80-65, in the championship game. Hayes, who averaged 24.7 points in 33 games, set school records for points (814) and rebounds (343).