FGCUAthletics.com
Join the Eagles as they Await WNIT Pairings
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Join the FGCU women's basketball team at Beef ‘O’Brady’s in Estero on Monday night (March 15) to celebrate their third consecutive automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitational tournament.

The Eagles, who are currently 24-6 overall and earned the A-Sun’s automatic WNIT bid, encourage fans to come out and support them as they anxiously wait for the WNIT to release the tournament bracket.

Several teams have already made sure they are playing in the postseason, as they secured spots in the WNIT. The teams that have earned automatic berths so far are: Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Harvard (Ivy League), Iona (Metro Atlantic), Oral Roberts (Summit), Robert Morris (Northeast), Saint Mary’s CA (West Coast), and Samford (Southern).

The celebration will begin at 9 p.m. and will be held at Beef ‘O’Brady’s in the Grande Oaks Shopping Plaza across from Miromar Outlets.

The WNIT will announce its full 64-team field on their website by 11:59 p.m. EST Monday night, March 15.


Postseason WNIT Facts

Postseason WNIT Tournament Overview
The Women's National Invitation Tournament is an annual tournament involving 64 of the nation's top women's Division I basketball teams. All games, including the semifinals and championship, are hosted by participating schools. Every round is single elimination.

Format
The Postseason WNIT features 32 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 established conference, and 33 at-large berths. The WNIT field and bracket is announced late on the evening of the NCAA Tournament selections.

Tournament History
The Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament began in 1998 with 16 teams playing for a postseason crown. The event has undergone four expansions throughout which its mission has remained the same: To give deserving teams a quality opportunity to play elevated games for a postseason title.

Following the inaugural year, the field doubled to 32 teams and remained that way until 2006 when a renewed commitment was made to schools. The WNIT expanded to a 40-team field to give spots to teams that won their regular-season conference title but did not win their conference tournament and therefore were excluded from the NCAA Tournament.

The WNIT furthered that commitment to conferences in 2007, when it expanded to 48 teams and awarded an automatic berth to each conference. The number of at-large berths remained at 17 until this year, when the WNIT felt that the level of women’s basketball now warrants a 64-team field.

2010 Postseason WNIT
The 64-team tournament is a single-elimination event with all games played at sites of host schools. The WNIT is committed to offering deserved opportunities to women’s basketball programs, and the 2010 Postseason WNIT will be the first event to feature a full 64-team bracket. The WNIT offers teams an opportunity to get more practices in, to experience playoff-atmosphere games, and to play in front of passionate fans. Last spring, Kansas hosted South Florida in the championship, and the teams played in front of 16,113 fans, which set a women's college basketball record in Big 12 Conference and University of Kansas history. Teams also use the Postseason WNIT as a jumping-board to their next season’s success. For example:

• Michigan State, the 2008 WNIT runner-up, vaulted to a Sweet 16 finish in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off a No. 1 seed in the process.
• Marquette, the 2006 WNIT runner-up, went on in 06-07 to its best season in school history and highest seed in the NCAA Tournament.
• Pittsburgh converted its 2006 WNIT semifinalist effort into its best season in school history in 06-07.
• Baylor, the 2003 WNIT runner-up, advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals in 2004 and earned its first NCAA Tournament championship in 2005.
• Houston, the 2002 WNIT runner-up, went on to its best record in school history and NCAA second round the following year.
• Michigan State, a semifinalist in the 2002 WNIT, played for the NCAA national championship in 2005.
• Penn State, the 1998 WNIT champion, reached the NCAA Final Four in 2000.

How the host schools are chosen
The host site for each game is selected by the WNIT committee based on several factors such as fan base, host bids, facility availability, tournament seed, travel constraints, etc.

2010 Postseason WNIT Dates
The 64-team field will be announced Monday evening, March 15, 2010. The first round will kick off Wednesday, March 17, with the event culminating on Saturday, April 3 with the championship.

Past Champions
2009 – South Florida
2008 – Marquette
2007 – Wyoming
2006 – Kansas State
2005 – Missouri
2004 – Creighton
2003 - Auburn
2002 - Oregon
2001 - Ohio
2000 - Wisconsin
1999 - Arkansas
1998 - Penn State

Did you know??
• The Postseason WNIT is the longest current running postseason event for women’s college basketball, in addition to the NCAA Tournament.
• The WNIT has expanded from 16 teams in the initial year to 64 teams for 2010. It is a huge supporter of women’s basketball, and has demonstrated consistency, tradition, and staying power throughout the years.
• WNIT games showcase the best of women’s basketball. Last year’s championship was played in front of a packed house of 16,113 fans.
• Early-round pairings are regionalized as much as possible in order to minimize missed class time and travel costs.
• The championship game is televised to a national audience every year, because the WNIT is financially committed to promoting women’s basketball.