St. Francis returns to the NAIA National Championship as the reigning national champions. Coming off an undefeated 38-0 season, the Cougars come into Sioux City with a 23-9 overall record. A 13-5 conference record put them in third place in the regular season Crossroads League standings. The Cougars were eliminated from the conference tournament in the semifinals by nationally 7th ranked Marian University, 84-83 in overtime. St. Francis was able to get big wins during the regular season over then 24th ranked Cornerstone (Mich.), number 22 Huntington (Ind.), and then 10th ranked Marian. However, the Cougars could not overcome other ranked foes during the season, as they compiled a 3-6 record against Top 25 opponents. The Cougars are led in scoring by junior forward Akyah Taylor, who averages 21.5 points per game. Taylor also paces the Cougars in rebounds per game, pulling down 9.1 boards per game. Additionally, Brooke Ridley, another junior forward, is second on the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. The Cougars are coached by Gary Andrews, who has been head coach for St. Francis since 2001, amassing a 259-132 record.