October 31, 2006 – The Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament features a field full of teams with high expectations.
The Preseason WNIT kicks off the women’s college basketball season Thursday, Nov. 9. First-round games begin at Purdue, North Carolina State, St. John’s and Stanford, with other first-round games played Nov. 10.
The 16-team field is loaded with talent. The No. 2 ranked team in the country, Stanford, will begin traveling its road to the NCAA Tournament by hosting Loyola Marymount. Stanford was picked to successfully defend its Pacific-10 Conference title in preseason voting. Loyola-Marymount also was picked in a tie to win the West Coast Conference.
Purdue, ranked No. 7 in preseason polls and picked to finish second in the Big Ten, will host Belmont, which was tabbed to win the Atlantic Sun this season.
Baylor, the 2005 national champion, was chosen to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference. The Bears, who advanced to the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament, will host North Texas, which won the Sun Belt’s West Division last season.
North Carolina State was voted fourth in the upcoming ACC season and will host High Point, which was picked second in the Big South.
St. John’s, picked sixth in the Big East, takes on Iona, which is coming off its best season in 27 years. Iona is picked to win the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference.
BYU, which won the Mountain West Conference last season, is picked to finish second in the league. The Cougars will host the Bengals of Idaho State, who were chosen No. 1 in the Big Sky preseason poll.
Hartford, which won the America East last season, is expected to stay at No. 1 in preseason voting. Hartford plays Dartmouth, which tied for first in the Ivy League last season.
Wichita State is picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference, which is its highest preseason ranking in history. The Shockers host Hofstra in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. Hofstra, under first-year coach Krista Kilburn-Stevesky, is picked to finish fourth in the Colonial Athletic after advancing to postseason for the first time in school history.
Second-round games will be played on Nov. 12-13; semifinals on Nov. 15-16; and the championship is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 19. All games are played on home campuses, which are determined after each round.
(All 2005-2006 team records in parentheses)
Thursday, Nov. 9
Belmont (22-8) at Purdue (26-7), 7 p.m. ET
Iona (17-12) at St. John’s (22-8), 7 p.m. ET
High Point (20-10) at N.C. State (19-12), 7 p.m. ET
Loyola-Marymount (17-12) at Stanford (26-8), 10 p.m. ET
Friday, Nov. 10
Dartmouth (23-7) at Hartford (27-4), 7 p.m. ET
North Texas (19-8) at Baylor (26-7), 8 p.m. ET
Hofstra (19-12) at Wichita State (15-13), 8 p.m. ET
Idaho State (17-13) at BYU (26-6), 9 p.m. ET