News With Commentary by TSL Staff
Sunday, March 10, 2002
Hokie Women WNIT-Bound
The Virginia Tech women's basketball team failed to make the NCAA Tournament, probably by the slimmest of margins, but the Women's NIT (WNIT) has extended a bid, and the Hokies will host UNC-Greensboro on Wednesday, March 13 at 7p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.
Like the men's NIT, the WNIT includes teams that do not make the NCAA Tournament and are extended an invitation. The WNIT involves 32 teams in a single-elimination format. All games, including the semifinals and championship, will be hosted by participating schools at home facilities, not at neutral sites.
With an RPI rating of 35 (according to rpiratings.com), the Hokies have the distinction of being the highest-RPI-rated team not to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Hokies are one of only two teams in the top 44 of the RPI not to make the NCAA (#39 North Texas is the other).
The Hokies (18-10) were 15-2 at one point this season and looked like an NCAA shoo-in. They had some quality wins during the season (over #16 ODU, #21 Boston College, #42 Syracuse, and #58 Clemson), but a late season swoon (3-8 in their last 11 games, including losses to #104 Providence and #119 Rutgers) led the selection committed to pass on selecting Tech.
The Hokies are one of only two Big East teams in the WNIT. Tech is joined by the Miami Hurricanes, who visit Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Five Big East teams made the NCAA tournament. The breakdown of NCAA and WNIT teams, according to their finish in the Big East Conference, is:
The WNIT invitation is Tech's fifth postseason bid in Coach Bonnie Henrickson's five years at Tech. The Hokies played in the NCAA in 1998, 1999, and 2001, and participated in the WNIT in 2000.
The UNC-Greensboro game will be Tech's fifth postseason home game in the past four years. In 1999, the Hokies hosted an NCAA subregional, defeating St. Peter's 73-48 and Auburn 76-61; in 2000, the Hokies hosted two WNIT games, defeating Georgia State 80-56 and losing to Maryland 68-61.
UNC Greensboro (21-9, RPI rating 59) was the runner-up in the Southern Conference tournament, losing the championship game 77-69 against Chattanooga. The Spartans feature three double-figure scorers, sophomore forward Jacinda Lambert (5'-10", 12.7 ppg., 4.5 rpg.), senior forward Brianne Dodgen (5'-11", 11.5 ppg., 5.3 rpg.) and senior guard Samika Foster (5-7, 10.1 ppg., 3.4 apg.).
If the Hokies win, they'll face the winner of Delaware-George Washington in the second round. The Delaware-GW game is being played at George Washington, an old rival of the Hokies from their Atlantic-10 days. The other four teams in the Hokies bracket are Holy Cross, Vermont, Siena, and St. Joseph's.
Admission to the first round game is $8 for adults and $4 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased at the Virginia Tech ticket office in Cassell Coliseum or by calling 1-800-828-3244 or 231-6731. Tickets are also available online at www.hokietickets.com.