Seahawks Selected To Play In WNIT
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW women's basketball program will make its first postseason tournament appearance as it received an at-large invitation to the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament on Monday.
The Seahawks open the 64-team event Thursday with a road contest at former Colonial Athletic Association rival and current Atlantic 10 member Richmond. Game time and ticket information will be announced once they become available.
The Seahawks are one of five CAA squads that will participate in the postseason WNIT. Old Dominion received the league's automatic berth and will host Loyola (Md.) while Delaware travels to Toldeo, VCU is at St. Joseph's and Drexel is on the road at Florida Gulf Coast in other first-round contests.
"We are excited to accept an at-large invitation to the postseason WNIT," said UNCW Head Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. "The girls have worked extremely hard all season to achieve this goal and to be the first team in program history to reach the postseason is a tremendous accomplishment. We look forward to the challenge of competing for the WNIT title, beginning with our contest Thursday against a talented Richmond squad. "
UNCW enters postseason play with a 23-8 overall mark after its loss to Delaware in the semifinals of the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship on Saturday. The Seahawks established a school record for wins in a season and posted their best finish in the Colonial Athletic Association since joining the league in 1984-85 with a tie for second place. In her first season with the program, Cooper-Dyke was named CAA Coach-of-the-Year while freshman point guard Alisha Andrews was tabbed the circuit's Rookie-of-the-Year.
Richmond begins the WNIT with an 18-11 mark after falling to Charlotte in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 championship. The Spiders, who finished the regular season in fourth place with a 9-6 league ledger, are led by senior Brittani Shells, who paced the Spiders and the A-10 in points per game (19.1) and comes in third in the league in steals per game (2.3).
In its 14th season, the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament began as a 16-team event in 1998 and has expanded to its current 64-team format in 2010. The tournament is a single-elimination event with all games played at sites of host schools. Past winners of the event include California, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.