March 13, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The first 40-team field in the history of the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament was announced tonight as the WCC regular-season co-Champion Santa Clara Broncos earned a WNIT bid and will travel to Corvallis, Ore. to face the Oregon State Beavers Thursday night, March 16 at 7 p.m.
Santa Clara (19-11) is 1-4 all-time against Oregon State (15-14), with the last meeting between the two teams coming on Nov. 30, 1997 when the host Broncos prevailed 79-64 over the Beavers at the Diet Coke Shootout at Toso Pavilion.
The winner of Thursday night's clash will then travel to Wyoming to face the Cowgirls (20-8) Saturday night, March 18.
Santa Clara's bid to the 2006 WNIT makes this postseason the eighth in the last nine seasons for the school, as the team has made four appearances in both the NCAA Tournament and the WNIT since the 1997-98 season.
The WNIT kicks off postseason action Wednesday, with preliminary-round games. Sixteen teams will play in that round, and then feed into 16 first-round games. All games are held on the campuses of participating schools, and no seeds are designated. This is the first year that the tournament expanded from 32 to 40 teams, which was done to offer more postseason opportunities to teams that won their regular-season conference title but lost in their conference tournament and did not earn an NCAA automatic berth.
The field features four teams each from the Big 12 and Big East conferences. From the Big 12, Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas were chosen. From the Big East, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Marquette and Cincinnati made the field. Three teams made the WNIT from the Atlantic 10: Charlotte, St. Joseph's and Xavier. Three teams also made it from the Colonial (James Madison, Delaware and Hofstra) and the Missouri Valley (Indiana State, Drake and Northern Iowa). Santa Clara is the lone West Coast Conference team in the field.
Game times will be announced Tuesday, March 14, by the WNIT. For more information, visit the Web site at www.womensnit.com
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Jackson State at Rice
Western Illinois at Illinois
Stony Brook at Hofstra
Belmont at Tennessee Tech
Thursday, March 16
Northern Iowa at Kansas
Cincinnati at Florida International
Santa Clara at Oregon State
UC-Santa Barbara at Fresno State
Thursday, March 16
Eastern Michigan at Indiana State
Wisconsin-Green Bay at Iowa State
Friday, March 17
Western Illinois-Illinois winner at Marquette
South Carolina at Xavier
James Madison at Charlotte
Belmont-Tennessee Tech winner at Western Kentucky
Drake at Nebraska
Idaho State at Kansas State
Saturday, March 18
Jackson State-Rice winner at Indiana
Northern Iowa-Kansas winner vs. Mississippi
Delaware at Pittsburgh
St. Joseph's (Pa.) at Virginia
Cincinnati-Florida International winner at Miami
Stony Brook-Hofstra winner at Villanova
Santa Clara-Oregon State winner at Wyoming
UC-Santa Barbara-Fresno State winner vs. UNLV