North Carolina, picked to win the ACC Conference and ranked among the top teams in the country, won its first-round game 90-56. Other Round 1 winners Friday in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament were VCU, Indiana, Xavier, Arizona State, and Tulane.
North Carolina was able to spread out its offense, with all 13 players scoring. Western Carolina was led by Brooke Johnson’s 13 points.
In the closest game of Round 1, Liberty battled back from a 17-point deficit in the first half, and held a one-point lead with six seconds left in the game. But VCU was fouled in the final seconds while shooting a 3-pointer, and proceeded to make all three free throws to win 59-57. Liberty’s Megan Frazee led her team with 28 points and 11 rebounds.
VCU travels to North Carolina for a Round 2 game at 5 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 16.
Indiana defeated visiting Ball State 84-68 to jumpstart its season. The Hoosiers were led by Amber Jackson, who had 17 points and eight rebounds. Ball State’s Porchia Green led her team with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
Xavier, ranked No. 22 in the nation, downed visiting Robert Morris 79-49. The Musketeers, ranked in the Top 25 poll for the first time in eight years, were led by Preseason All-American candidate Ta’Shia Phillips, who had 25 points and 11 rebounds. Robert Morris, picked to win the Northeast Conference for the third straight year, was led by Monet Johnson, who scored 19 points and added nine rebounds.
Indiana hosts Xavier in Round 2 at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 16.
Arizona State defeated visiting Cleveland State 76-59 to set up a Round 2 game with Tulane. Tulane downed Illinois State 75-62 and will play at Arizona State at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 16.
The final Round 1 games will be played Saturday: UC Riverside at Oklahoma; and Lafayette at Middle Tennessee.
All consolation round game details will be announced following the completion of the entire Round 1 games late Saturday night.
First-round 2008 Preseason WNIT games
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
Xavier 79, Robert Morris 49
North Carolina 90, Western Carolina 56
VCU 59, Liberty 57
Indiana 84, Ball State 68
Tulane 75, Illinois State 62
Arizona State 76, Cleveland State 59
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008
UC Riverside (14-16) at Oklahoma (22-9), 3 p.m. ET
Lafayette (14-16) at Middle Tennessee (22-12), 8 p.m. ET