March 15, 2010
For the first time since the 2002 season, the West Coast Conference will send four women's basketball teams into the postseason. Saint Mary's will be hosting Utah in the first round of the WNIT, while Pepperdine will travel to BYU. In the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitation, Portland will take on the University of Washington. This also marks the first time since 2004 the WCC will have multiple teams in the WNIT.
Saint Mary's - WNIT
The Saint Mary's women's basketball team will be hosting the first round of the 2010 Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), as announced by the NCAA on Monday night. The Gaels will face Utah (22-11) on Sunday, March 21. All game times will be announced on Tuesday, March 16.
The Gaels (21-9) earned an automatic bid to the WNIT after finishing second in the West Coast Conference with a 12-2 conference record. SMC finished the year with a 21-9 record, earning its first 20-win season since 2000-01.
This year's post-season invitation marks the third WNIT appearance for Saint Mary's. The Gaels hosted two NIT games in 2000, beating Hawaii 75-60 before falling to Long Beach State (48-73) in the second round. In 2002, SMC traveled to Oregon for the first round, falling to the Ducks 61-72.
This is the first year of the expanded Postseason WNIT, and the field includes 31 teams that earned automatic berths and 33 teams that earned at-large berths.
Ticket sales to the general public will begin at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 16. Tickets can be purchased three ways: online at www.SMCGaels.com, over the phone at (925) 631-GoTX, or in person at the SMC Box Office starting an hour before tip-off. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pepperdine - WNIT
The Pepperdine women's basketball team's season will continue as the Women's NIT announced tonight that the Waves will travel to BYU for a first-round game on Thursday (March 18).The Waves (20-11), who finished third in the West Coast Conference's regular season and was the runner-up at last week's WCC Tournament, will be making their first postseason appearance since the 2006 NCAA Tournament and their first WNIT showing since 2004.
The WNIT expanded to 64 teams this season and Pepperdine received one of 33 at-large berths.
"This is definitely exciting," Pepperdine Coach Julie Rousseau said. "We're thrilled to extend our season. It's so exciting to see the work you've put in for the season be recognized by others. To get this bid speaks volumes in terms of validating our season and the work our young women and coaches have put in. We just want to go out and represent Pepperdine the best we can. I know BYU has a great team and historically has had a very good program, so our work will be cut out for us."
The Cougars (20-9) received an automatic bid to the WNIT after finishing second in the Mountain West Conference's regular season. BYU then reached the semifinals of the MWC Tournament.
The two schools have only met twice previously. Pepperdine won 67-66 at home in December 1979, while BYU won 98-78 in December 1983 in a game played in Long Beach, Calif.
The winner of the Pepperdine-BYU game will play the winner of Wednesday's New Mexico State at Arizona State contest sometime between March 20-23.
Saint Mary's is the only other WCC school in the WNIT field, and the Gaels will host Utah on Sunday.
The start time of Thursday's game will be announced on Tuesday.
Portland - WBI
The Portland Pilots have been invited to play in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitation and will play the Washington Huskies in a first round game at Bank of America Arena in Seattle, Wash., on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. The Pilots, who are 18-12 overall and went 7-7 in the West Coast Conference, are making their second straight post-season appearance after advancing to the WNIT last season.
The WBI is a post-season tournament broken into two regions with eight teams in each region. All teams will play under a single-elimination format on campus sites with the higher seed hosting games each round.
The sixth-seeded Pilots have already registered the most wins in a season since going 19-9 during the 1997-98 campaign. The Huskies, a No. 3 seed, are 12-17 this season and went 7-12 in the Pac-10 Conference.
The winner of the UP-UW match-up advances to the second round and will play the winner between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Cal State Bakersfield. Memphis is the No. 1 seed in the West Region, while Appalachian State was awarded the top seed in the East.