November 9, 2009 – Ohio State headlines a 16-team field that will kick off the women’s basketball season with the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Friday, Nov. 13.
Ohio State is ranked No. 3 in the preseason AP Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today polls, and features two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender, as well as the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Prahalis.
Georgia Tech, ranked 19th in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, is coming off its third straight 20-plus win season and returns four starters from its 22-10 team. The Yellow Jackets are one of 11 teams in the Preseason WNIT field that played in the postseason last spring: Arkansas-Little Rock, Bowling Green, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Tech, Marist, New Mexico, North Carolina A&T, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Winthrop. They will be joined in this fall’s WNIT field by Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, Northern Colorado, Towson, and UTEP.
Six of the teams are picked to win their conference or conference division title in this year’s preseason polls: UALR, BGSU, Florida Gulf Coast, Marist, North Carolina A&T, and Ohio State.
The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format. The event opens Friday, Nov. 13 with first-round games. Second-round games will be played Nov. 15-16; semifinals will be Nov. 18-19; and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 22. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 20-22. All games are hosted by participating schools, and sites are announced by the end of the preceding round.
In last year’s Preseason WNIT, North Carolina defeated Oklahoma 80-79 in a fierce battle of Top-5 teams.
First-round 2009 Preseason WNIT games
(All 2008-2009 team records in parentheses)
Friday, Nov. 13, 2009
Eastern Illinois (24-9) at Ohio State (29-6), 5 p.m. ET
Towson (17-13) at West Virginia (18-15), 6 p.m. ET
UTEP (18-12) at Florida Gulf Coast (26-5), 7 p.m. ET
Arkansas-Little Rock (26-7) at Oklahoma State (17-16), 7 p.m. ET
Winthrop (16-16) at Georgia Tech (22-10), 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago State (16-13) at Bowling Green (29-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
North Carolina A&T (26-7) at Marist (29-4), 7:30 p.m. ET
Northern Colorado (12-18) at New Mexico (25-11), 9 p.m. ET