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 live nationally. The event offers 32 automatic berths, one to each established conference, and 32 at-large berths. The WNIT field and bracket is announced late on the evening of the NCAA Tournament selections.
 
2014 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 2014 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, Drexel and Utah showcased one of the nation's best defensive games as the Dragons pulled away with a 46-43 win. Drexel won six straight games, including its first two wins over SEC programs (Auburn and Florida). Drexel blew away its school record for team scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of 51.37 points per game in a season, which ranks the team among the top 20 all-time in NCAA history.
 
2014 Dates
The 64-team field will be announced late Monday evening, March 17, 2014. The first round will kick off Wednesday, March 19, with the event culminating on Saturday, April 5 with the championship.
  • Selection – Monday, March 17.
  • Round 1 – March 19-21.
  • Round 2 – March 22-25.
  • Round 3 – March 26-28.
  • Round 4 – March 29-31.
  • Semifinals – April 2-3.
  • Championship – Saturday, April 5, 3 p.m. ET.
  •  
    Selection and Bracketing Process
    The WNIT committee uses three stages in this order to implement the final bracket: 1) Select teams; 2) Group teams according to team strength; and 3) Bracket the selected teams.
     
    Selection Procedures/Selection Day
    The WNIT committee will choose 64 teams for its Postseason WNIT. The field will consist of 32 automatic berths – one from each conference – and 32 at-large teams. The intent of the WNIT Selection Committee is to select the 32 best available at-large teams in the nation, regardless of conference or geographical location.
    The field will be announced late Monday, March 17, 2014. All information will be disseminated via the website at www.womensnit.com that night, a few hours after the NCAA bracket is announced.

    Selecting Teams: Automatic Berths
    Thirty-two (32) spots in the Postseason WNIT will be filled automatically by the best team available in each of the nation’s 32 conferences, after the NCAA Tournament committee makes its picks.
    1. A team that is offered an automatic berth by the WNIT shall be the team that is a.) the highest-finishing team in its conference’s regular-season standings, and b.) is then not selected for the NCAA Tournament. It does not matter what the team’s overall record is. For the automatic qualifying berth, the WNIT believes that a team’s conference record is a more fair comparison among teams within their own conference, and that the conference record should pre-empt overall records among teams from the same conference. The automatic qualifying team is rewarded with the AQ spot for its in-conference play.
    2. Should a conference’s automatic qualifier team decline the WNIT invitation, then the conference forfeits its AQ spot and that berth goes into the at-large pool.
    3. In the event of a tie among teams under consideration for the WNIT automatic berth, the WNIT will abide by conference bylaws that have been set up specifically to address a tiebreaking situation in that specific conference.
    4. In the event of a tie among teams with identical conference records and there are no specific bylaws to address it, the WNIT will recognize the conference tiebreaker, and select the team with the best seed for its conference tournament.
    5. Multiple-division conferences receive one WNIT automatic berth. The qualifying process is the same as that for single-division conferences. However, if a conference designates more than one top seed (i.e. a No. 1 seed for each division), then the conference office shall determine, before its conference tournament begins, a seeding order for WNIT purposes.

    Selecting Teams: At-large Berths
    The remaining 32 team slots in the Postseason WNIT will be filled by the top teams available. Any team from a Division I conference, or a Division I independent team, will be considered. Any team considered for an at-large berth must have an overall record of .500 or better. Overall record includes conference tournament games.
    1. The WNIT committee will utilize at least six women’s basketball ranking systems in the selection of the at-large tournament spots, such as Massey, Moore, NCAA RPI, RealTime RPI, and Sagarin. These rankings vary in their emphasis, which provides a good cross-ranking of factors such as win-loss record, strength of schedule, strength of opponents, strength of opponents’ schedule, record at home and on the road, record against Top 25 and Top 50 teams, and margin of victory, among other factors.
    2. The WNIT will consolidate the rankings, eliminate the high and the low rankings for each team, and average the remaining rankings. This consolidated ranking is an initial resource for at-large selections.
    3. The WNIT further looks at additional factors among the teams “on the bubble” such as how well a team is currently playing, common opponents, late-season win/loss runs, games against other potential invitees, and key injuries.
    4. Factors that are not taken into consideration at any time during team selection are host bids, location of school, attendance history, WNIT history, ability to host, etc.

    Tiered Grouping Procedures
    The Process
    After the WNIT committee chooses the 64 teams adhering to the above-mentioned selection process, the teams are grouped into tiers. The system is used to establish teams’ strengths to assist in the bracketing process.
    The committee groups the 64 teams using a combination of tools, including the ranking systems and other criteria listed in the selection process.
    This is a general placement of what is considered a distribution of the field strength.

    The Bracket Process
    Bracket guidelines
    1. The committee makes every attempt to distribute the top schools evenly across the bracket.
    2. First-round pairings are determined initially on team strength (i.e. a top tier team plays a bottom tier team; a middle tier team plays a middle tier team) and then may be adjusted with consideration to school location, conference, and prior meetings among teams, among other factors. See below for details.
    3. Teams from the same conference will not meet in the first round. If possible, conference teams will not meet in the second round as well.
    4. Rematches of regular-season games shall be avoided, if possible, in the first round.
    5. Some pairings are dictated by schools’ ability to host. For example, two schools that cannot host will not be paired with each other.
    6. Factors can preclude teams from being placed in their natural grouping when it comes to bracketing games. These factors include travel issues, school location, facility availability, lodging constraints, previous games with WNIT opponents, etc.
    7. The committee strives to achieve competitive balance within each quadrant of the bracket, as well as tries to limit teams’ travel and missed school days.
    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 exciting 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.
     
    Here is a year-by-year overview:
    • 1998 – The Postseason WNIT began in March of 1998 and involved 16 teams from around the country. Penn State defeated Baylor in Waco, Texas in front of 10,057 extremely vocal hometown fans. Attendance for the two semifinal games and championship game averaged 7,970 spectators per game.
    • 1999 – The event was expanded to involve 32 schools. Arkansas and Wisconsin drew a WNIT record 14,161 women’s basketball fans for the championship matchup at Arkansas.
    • 2000 – The tournament saw Wisconsin reach the championship game for the second year in a row. This time, however, Wisconsin was victorious against Florida in front of a crowd of 13,006 fans in Madison, Wis.
    • 2001 – Ohio State overcame a 12-point deficit against New Mexico to beat the host Lobos at The Pit in front of 18,018 fans. This championship game sold out eight hours after tickets went on sale to the general public. The sell-out was the third fastest in the history of the facility.
    • 2002 – Oregon scored with 2.4 seconds remaining to give Oregon the Women's NIT championship with a 54-52 victory over Houston before a season-high 6,835 fans at McArthur Court at Eugene, Ore.
    • 2003 – Auburn overcame a six-point Baylor lead in the final two and a half minutes to win the championship game. Auburn edged Baylor 64-63 in front of a deafening crowd of 7,314 at Waco, Texas. The winning basket came with 3.2 seconds left in the contest.
    • 2004 – Creighton dominated UNLV from start to finish for a 73-52 victory in front of 4,180 fans in Omaha. This was the second largest home crowd in school history for Creighton.
    • 2005 – Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) defeated West Virginia 78-70 in the championship. A sellout crowd of 8,870 vocal fans witnessed the final game for the team before the school changed its name to Missouri State. Jenny Lingor set the WNIT scoring record with 116 points in five games and the team made a WNIT record 58 3-pointers during their tournament run.
    • 2006 – Kansas State overcame a one-point halftime deficit and Marquette's hot 3-point shooting to win the WNIT championship. The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 13,340 – at the time the third largest in WNIT history.
    • 2007 – In the 10th year of the Postseason WNIT, Wyoming rolled with six straight wins, including a 72-56 victory over Wisconsin in the championship. The entire state of Wyoming got behind the Cowgirls, as they sold out the final game in less than 10 hours, and drew 52,541 fans for the entire event, including 15,462 for the championship.
    • 2008 - Marquette beat the odds and became the first team to win three road games in the Postseason WNIT. The Golden Eagles topped Michigan State 81-66 in front of 7,818 fans at the Breslin Center to capture their first postseason championship.
    • 2009 - South Florida relied on veteran leadership and took a cue from the 2008 Marquette team to win three straight road games, including a championship at Kansas. South Florida edged the Jayhawks 75-71 in front of a Kansas and Big 12 conference record-setting crowd of 16,113 fans at venerable Allen Fieldhouse.
    • 2010 – California won six straight games, including two on the road, to capture its first national title. The Golden Bears defeated Miami 73-61 in a championship game that showcased some of the nation’s best up-and-coming players.
    • 2011 – Toledo steamrolled its way to a championship that energized the entire community. The Rockets hosted all six games, defeating Delaware, Auburn, Alabama, Syracuse, Charlotte, and USC. Toledo sold out its semifinal and championship games at more than 7,000 fans each, which set school and conference attendance records.
    • 2012 – Oklahoma State wrapped up an emotional season that started with the Cowgirls losing head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in a plane crash. The season ended with an amazing storybook finish as the Cowgirls won six straight games, defeating JMU 75-68 in the championship to win the Postseason WNIT title.
    • 2013 - Drexel hit a go-ahead layup with 22 seconds left, then added two free throws in the final seconds to seal the 46-43 victory for the Dragons. It was the first Postseason WNIT title for a Colonial Athletic Association team.

    Did you know??
    • The Postseason WNIT is the longest current running postseason event for women’s college basketball, in addition to the NCAA Tournament.
    • In existence since 1998, the WNIT has afforded hundreds of opportunities for schools in every conference to play in the postseason.
    • 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 32 established conferences.
    • WNIT games showcase the best of women’s basketball, both with fan excitement (The 2009 championship was played in front of a Big 12 record 16,113 fans at Kansas) and level of play (teams that do well in the Post WNIT often make a huge jump the following year to performing well in the NCAA Tournament).
    • Everyone wants home games, and the WNIT makes hosting affordable for all teams. Teams can host in the first round for a guarantee of $6,500 a game. They can host in the second round for $7,500 a game.
    • The WNIT helps offset those costs and assumes all risk for high-cost travel. Teams pay no more than $10,000 combined for all of their road games in the Postseason WNIT. This allows teams to budget for their postseason play and doesn’t penalize them for winning.
    • Early-round pairings are regionalized as much as possible in order to minimize missed class time and travel costs.
    • The WNIT’s travel agents are always available to help teams late at night and on the weekends to secure travel for the next round.
    • The championship game is televised live to a national audience every year, because the WNIT is financially committed to promoting women’s basketball.

    Past Champions
    2013 – Drexel
    2012 – Oklahoma State
    2011 – Toledo
    2010 – California
    2009 – South Florida
    2008 – Marquette
    2007 – Wyoming
    2006 – Kansas State
    2005 – Missouri State
    2004 – Creighton
    2003 – Auburn
    2002 – Oregon
    2001 – Ohio State
    2000 – Wisconsin
    1999 – Arkansas
    1998 – Penn State
     
    Contact Us
    Women’s National Invitation Tournament
    Renee Carlson, Director
    3930 Automation Way
    Fort Collins, CO 80525
    Phone: 970-672-0557
    Fax: 970-223-3636
    E-mail: renee@triplecrownsports.com
    Renee Carlson