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2009 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament field announced

Published on June 30, 2009


WNITlogoblueThe Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament kicks off in mid-November with a field of sixteen teams.

Eleven of the teams played in the postseason last spring: Arkansas-Little Rock, Bowling Green, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Tech, Marist, New Mexico, North Carolina A&T, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Winthrop. They will be joined in the Preseason WNIT by Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, Northern Colorado, Towson, and UTEP.

First-round Preseason WNIT games
2008-2009 team records in parentheses

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009
Eastern Illinois (24-9) at Ohio State (29-6), 5 p.m. ET
UTEP (18-12) at Florida Gulf Coast (26-5), 7 p.m. ET
Arkansas-Little Rock (26-7) at Oklahoma State (17-16), 7 p.m. ET
Towson (17-13) at West Virginia (18-15), 7 p.m. ET
Winthrop (16-16) at Georgia Tech (22-10), 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago State (16-13) at Bowling Green (29-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
North Carolina A&T (26-7) at Marist (29-4), 7:30 p.m. ET
Northern Colorado (12-18) at New Mexico (25-11), 9 p.m. ET

  • Arkansas-Little Rock is coming off its best win total in school history and returns all five starters from its 26-7 team.
  • Chicago State has posted more wins in the past two years than at any other time, and welcomes back four starters from its 16-13 team.
  • Bowling Green returns honorable mention All-American Tracy Pontius and nearly everyone else from a 29-5 team that won its fifth straight MAC regular-season title.
  • Eastern Illinois vaulted to a 24-9 record last year, its most Division I wins in school history, and the incoming class of freshmen received national recognition.
  • Florida Gulf Coast gets every player back from its second straight postseason appearance. The Eagles, still in Division I infancy, finished the season on a 17-1 stretch and a 26-5 record overall.
  • Georgia Tech (22-10) topped 20 wins for the third straight season, and also earned its third straight NCAA Tournament berth. The Yellow Jackets return four starters and are an early-season Top-20 team.
  • Marist will kick off All-American Rachele Fitz’s senior season with its first Preseason WNIT invitation. Marist (29-4) has won six straight Metro Atlantic titles and become a staple in the NCAA Tournament.
  • New Mexico welcomes back all but two players from a 25-11 team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Postseason WNIT and won at least 20 games for the 11th time in 12 years.
  • North Carolina A&T is coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years. A senior class of five players looks to build on a school record for wins that last year’s 26-7 team posted.
  • Northern Colorado has high expectations in the Big Sky with all five starters returning from a young team that went 12-18 last year.
  • Oklahoma State signed three top junior college players to support Andrea Riley, who averaged 23.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, and 4.2 rpg last year. The Cowgirls expect bigger things for 2009-10 coming off their 17-16 season in the Big 12.
  • Ohio State, picked No. 3 in early polls for this fall, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Big Ten Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The Buckeyes return two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender, as well as Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Prahalis.
  • Towson is a program on the rise, winning its first Colonial Athletic Association Tournament games in school history in 2008 and 2009. The Tigers welcome back their top five scorers from a 17-13 team.
  • UTEP, which went 18-12 last year with its youngest team in school history, has everybody back, including three players lost to season-ending injuries and the Conference-USA Player of the Year (Jareica Hughes) and Freshman of the Year (Dietra Caldwell).
  • West Virginia also was young and injury-bitten last year, but looks forward to getting three returning starters back on the court from an 18-15 team that showed promise of things to come with some upset victories.
  • Winthrop made the postseason (WNIT) for the first time in its Division I history last year as the automatic berth out of the Big South. The Lady Eagles (16-16) recorded back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in school history.

The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format. The event opens Friday, Nov. 13 with first-round games. Second-round games will be played Nov. 15-16; semifinals will be Nov. 18-19; and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 22. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 20-22. All games are hosted by participating schools, and sites are announced by the end of the preceding round.

In last year’s Preseason WNIT, North Carolina defeated Oklahoma 80-79 in a fierce battle of top five teams.


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