The 16-team invitation-only Preseason WNIT field features 14 teams coming off of postseason play. Seven teams won their conference tournaments in 2009-2010: Austin Peay, Hampton, JMU, Lamar, South Dakota State, St. Francis PA, and Utah Valley. Other teams that also earned postseason experience were Charlotte, DePaul, Florida, Iona, Missouri State, Purdue, and Toledo. Central Florida and Valparaiso round out the field for this year’s Preseason WNIT.
Please see below for the first-round schedule.
- Austin Peay won an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament record sixth title and returns four of its five starters from the NCAA Tournament team that was 15-18.
- Central Florida (UCF), which won the Conference USA Tournament a year ago, returns all five starters from its 11-16 team. Coach Joi Williams and staff will have five seniors on the roster as they continue to turn around the UCF program.
- Charlotte welcomes back its leading scorer and rebounder from an 18-14 team that was 9-5 in the Atlantic 10. The freshmen saw plenty of playing time on a team that advanced in the Postseason WNIT.
- DePaul played in its eighth straight NCAA Tournament and has all five starters back from a team that was 21-12 and 9-7 in the Big East. Sam Quigley was one of eight finalists for the Nancy Lieberman award, which goes to the nation’s top point guard, and returns for her senior year under coach Doug Bruno.
- Florida features a balanced lineup and expects bigger things coming off a 15-17 season that saw the Gators earn the SEC’s automatic qualifying berth in the Postseason WNIT.
- Hampton recorded its first 20-win season since 2003, and played in its fourth NCAA Tournament and first since 2000. They won 16 of their last 19 games, including the MEAC Tournament championship, with seven freshmen and four sophomores on the roster.
- Iona welcomes back an experienced roster that strives to build on its 18-14 season and third appearance in the Postseason WNIT in the past four years.
- JMU has nearly everyone back from its NCAA Tournament team that finished 26-7 overall and 13-5 in the Colonial, including winning the conference tournament championship. CAA First-teamer Dawn Evans (24.6 ppg, 4.6 apg) heads a strong five-member senior class.
- Lamar is in the midst of a program turnaround with coach Larry Tidwell and staff. The team won its first Southland Tournament title in history and played in its first NCAA Tournament. Conference player of the year Jenna Plumley and the bulk of the team return to defend a 26-8 overall record and 13-3 mark in the Southland.
- Missouri State posted a 12-win turnaround with a 22-11 record and its first postseason (WNIT) appearance in four years. Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Casey Garrison (19.9 point, 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists) will be a junior on a team that has all but one player back.
- Purdue’s youth resurgence continues with the signing of the top two players in Indiana. They will join 2008 Miss Basketball Indiana Brittany Rayburn, who led last season’s 15-17 team in scoring. The Boilermakers were the Big Ten’s automatic qualifying team for the Postseason WNIT.
- South Dakota State made its second straight NCAA Tournament run after capturing the Summit League tournament title. The squad returns three starters from a 22-11 team that won 11 of its last 13 games, and has made an immediate national impact while in its Division I infancy.
- Saint Francis (PA) won its Northeast Conference record 10th league title and earned an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament. Coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl has taken the program from worst in the NEC (2007-08) to the NEC Championship game in 08-09 to the NEC Tournament title in 09-10.
- Toledo returns three starters from a 25-9 team that won the MAC West Division and advanced into the Postseason WNIT. They will open next season with a 13-game home winning streak to defend.
- Utah Valley won the inaugural Great West Tournament title, and the Wolverines finished their 10-22 year with five straight victories.
- Valparaiso returns three starters from a 9-21 team and has high expectations in the Horizon League. Coach Keith Freeman enters his 17th season at Valparaiso and will go for his 270th win this fall.
The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format. The event opens Nov. 12-13 with first-round games. Second-round games will be played Nov. 14-15; semifinals will be Nov. 17-18; and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 21. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 19-20. All games are hosted by participating schools, and sites are announced by the end of the preceding round.
In last year’s Preseason WNIT, Ohio State defeated Oklahoma State 93-72.
First-round Preseason WNIT games
All 2009-2010 team records in parentheses
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
Austin Peay (15-18) at Purdue (15-17), 5 p.m. ET
Lamar (26-8) at Missouri State (22-11), 6:35 p.m. ET
St. Francis PA (17-15) at Toledo (25-9), 7 p.m. ET
Hampton (20-12) at JMU (26-7), 7 p.m. ET
Valparaiso (9-21) at DePaul (21-12), 8 p.m. ET
Utah Valley (10-22) at South Dakota State (22-11), 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
Central Florida (11-16) at Florida (15-17), 4 p.m. ET
Iona (18-14) at Charlotte (18-14), 5 p.m. ET