FGCUAthletics.com
Join the Eagles as they Await WNIT Pairings
Monday, March 14, 2011

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fans can join the FGCU women's basketball team at Beef ‘O’Brady’s in Estero on Monday night (March 14) to celebrate their fourth consecutive automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitational tournament and second Atlantic Sun regular season title.

The Eagles, who are currently 27-3 overall and earned the A-Sun’s automatic WNIT bid after winning the A-Sun regular season crown with a 17-3 record, 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: Appalachian St. (SoCon), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Loyola-Md. (MAAC), Oral Roberts (Summit), St. Mary’s (West Coast), Tennessee Tech (Ohio Valley), UMBC (America East) and Yale (Ivy League).

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. For those fans who can’t make it out to the party, Tom James, the host of the FGCU Sports Report, will be broadcasting live online on FGCUAthletics.com from Beef ‘O’Brady’s beginning at 11 p.m.

The WNIT selection committee will announce the 64-team Postseason WNIT field late the evening of Monday, March 14, following the NCAA Tournament field announcement. The first round of the WNIT is scheduled for March 16-18.

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.

2011 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 2011 Postseason WNIT features a full 64-team bracket. The WNIT offers teams an opportunity to get more practices in, to experience playoff-atmosphere games, to play in front of passionate fans, and to use their WNIT success as a springboard to the next season. Last year, California won two games on the road and earned the title with a 73-61 win over Miami in a championship showcasing some of the top young players in the country. In 2009, 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 both Big 12 Conference and University of Kansas history.

2011 Dates
The 64-team field will be announced late Monday evening, March 14, 2011. The first round will kick off Wednesday, March 16, with the event culminating on Saturday, April 2 with the championship.
• Selection – Monday, March 14.
• Round 1 – March 16-18.
• Round 2 – March 19-21.
• Round 3 – March 23-25.
• Round 4 – March 26-28.
• Semifinals – March 30-31.
• Championship – Saturday, April 2.

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. A team's desire or ability to host or not to host has absolutely no bearing on that team being chosen for the 64-team field.

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 2010, when the WNIT felt that the level of women’s basketball warranted an expansion to the 64-team field.

Past Champions
2010 – California
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 expanded from 16 teams in the initial year to 64 teams in 2010. The WNIT is a huge supporter of women’s basketball, and has demonstrated consistency, tradition, and staying power throughout the years.
• The WNIT is committed to all established conferences. It is the only men's or women's postseason tournament – other than the NCAA – to offer an automatic berth to each of the 31 established conferences.
• WNIT games showcase the best of women’s basketball. The 2009 championship was played in front of a packed house of 16,113 fans at Kansas.
• 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.