March 16, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. --- The Portland Pilots, who are making their first postseason appearance in 10 years, will play cross-town rival Portland State at Stott Arena on Thursday night in a Women's National Invitation First Round game. The winner will advance to face the Oregon State Beavers in a second round game on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
Portland's trip to the 2009 WNIT is the program's first postseason appearance since also advancing to the WNIT in 1999. The Pilots, who are making their second WNIT appearance overall, lost 67-63 to Washington in Seattle during the first round of the 1999 WNIT. The Pilots have advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times (1994-97).
With a 17-13 overall record, the Pilots are enjoying their finest season in a decade. The Pilots have guaranteed their first winning season since 1998-99, while their 17 wins are the most since Portland won 19 games in 1997-98. UP, which went 10-4 during conference play, finished second in the WCC for its best league finish since 1996-97. The Pilots won the league regular season title that year with a perfect 14-0 record. The 10 conference wins are the most for UP since that same season.
This will be the second match-up this season between the Pilots and Vikings. On Nov. 26, PSU defeated Portland 72-56 at Stott Arena.
The Women's National Invitation Tournament is an annual tournament involving 48 of the nation's top women's Division I basketball teams. All games, including the semifinals and championship, are hosted by participating schools at their home facility. Every round is single elimination.
The Postseason WNIT features 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games, and the championship. The championship game is televised. The event offers 31 automatic berths, one to each conference, and 17 at-large berths.
Last spring, Marquette defeated Michigan State 81-66 to claim the 2008 WNIT title.