FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles will face George Washington University of the Atlantic 10 Conference in the first round of the Postseason Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) this Thursday, March 19 at Alico Arena. The announcement was made late on Monday, March 16.
The Eagles, who posted a 25-4 overall record to date, earned the automatic bid to the WNIT after winning the A-Sun regular season title and will participate in the tournament for the second consecutive year.
Smesko and the Eagles are currently 8-1 overall in non-conference play and 14-1 overall at home this season. FGCU is also a perfect 5-0 at home against non-conference opponents.
GW's selection into the 48-team field marks the program's 10th consecutive postseason tournament appearance and 18th overall, all within the last 19 seasons. The Colonials are 1-4 in two previous WNIT appearances, posting a 0-3 mark in the 1993 National Women's Invitational Tournament and 1-1 record in the 2002 WNIT. GW qualified for the NCAA Tournament each of the past six seasons, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2007 and 2008.
GW posted a 17-13 overall record (4-8 overall record on the road and 0-5 record on the road against non-conference opponents) under first-year head coach Mike Bozeman and finished tied for fourth place in the Atlantic 10 standings with a 9-5 league mark. The Colonials join A-10 programs Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Dayton, and Duquesne in the WNIT field.
The Colonials faced 15 teams to qualify for the 2009 postseason, going 6-10 against a combined eight NCAA and seven WNIT squads.
GW is led by first team All-Atlantic 10 center Jessica Adair, who leads the team in scoring (13.5 ppg), rebounding (7.5 rpg), field-goal percentage (.571), blocks (1.6 bpg) and steals (1.1 spg), and third team All-A-10 forward/guard Antelia Parrish, who averages 11.1 points with 52 made three pointers. Senior Yolanda Lavender has averaged 9.4 points and 4.4 assists in 20 games since becoming eligible in December per NCAA transfer rules, while freshmen Tara Booker, an A-10 All-Rookie Team pick, and Tiana Myers have added 8.1 and 7.1 points per game.
The Women's National Invitation Tournament is an annual tournament involving 48 of the nation's top women's Division I basketball teams. All games, including the semifinals and championship, are hosted by participating schools at their home facility. Every round is single elimination.
The Postseason WNIT features 16 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 conference, and 17 at-large berths. The WNIT field and bracket is announced late on the evening of the NCAA Tournament selections.
Game times will be announced Tuesday, March 17, by the WNIT. For more information, visit the web site at www.womensnit.com.
Here are the 48 teams in the tournament:
Automatic Berths with team record
American (Patriot) (19-11)
Arkansas (SEC) (17-13)
Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt) (26-6)
Boston University (America East) (17-13)
Boston College (ACC) (20-11)
Bowling Green (MAC) (28-4)
Butler (Horizon) (19-11)
Canisius (Metro Atlantic) (24-8)
Central Connecticut State (Northeast) (18-13)
Chattanooga (Southern) (22-9)
Coppin State (MEAC) (14-14)
Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun) (25-4)
Harvard (Ivy) (19-9)
Illinois State (Missouri Valley) (24-7)
Indiana (Big 10) (19-10)
James Madison (Colonial) (23-9)
Kansas (B12) (18-13)
La Tech (WAC) (20-12)
Murray State (Ohio Valley) (22-8)
New Mexico (Mountain West) (22-10)
Oakland (Summit) (26-6)
Oregon State (Pac 10) (19-11)
Portland (West Coast) (17-3)
Portland State (Big Sky) (22-9)
Richmond (A10) (23-9)
SMU (Conference USA) (20-11)
South Florida (Big East) (22-10)
Southern (SWAC) (16-13)
UC Riverside (Big West) (19-11)
UT Arlington (Southland) (22-10)
Winthrop (Big South) (16-15)
At-large Berths with team record
Creighton (Missouri Valley) (21-11)
Dayton (Atlantic 10) (20-13)
Duquesne (Atlantic 10) (20-11)
George Washington (Atlantic 10) (17-13)
Georgetown (Big East) (17-13)
Hartford (America East) (20-11)
Kentucky (SEC) (15-15)
Marquette (Big East) (16-15)
Mississippi (SEC) (17-14)
Nebraska (Big 12) (15-15)
Oklahoma State (Big 12) (16-15)
St. Bonaventure (Atlantic 10) (21-10)
St. John’s (Big East) (17-14)
Syracuse (Big East) (16-14)
Wake Forest (ACC) (19-11)
West Virginia (Big East) (17-14)
Wisconsin (Big 10) (18-13)
Assistant Coaches Ericka Haney and Chelsea Dermyer and the FGCU Sports Information staff check the WNIT Bracket
The 08-09 FGCU Lady Eagles