Sunday, March 28, 2010 – Michigan, Miami, and Illinois State will join Cal in the Final Four of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament with victories Sunday in the quarterfinals.
Michigan, which has outscored its opponents by an average of 25 points in WNIT games, held true to its strategy with a 78-52 victory over Syracuse. Carmen Reynolds (26 points) and Veronica Hicks (24 points) led the way for the Wolverines (21-13), who are in the semifinals of a national tournament for the first time in school history.
Syracuse (25-11) out-rebounded Michigan as it has all of its other WNIT opponents, but the Orange struggled to score. Juanita Ward led Syracuse with 10 points and five rebounds.
Michigan will host Miami in a semifinal game beginning at 7 p.m. EST Wednesday, March 31.
Miami (21-13) is on its longest postseason run in school history, thanks to a 73-65 victory on the road against Providence. Miami, which reached 20 wins this season for the first time in six years, had Shenise Johnson (33 points, 10 rebounds) and Riquna Williams (24 points) lead the charge.
Miami led 36-35 at halftime, and then held Providence scoreless until the 13:24 mark in the second half as they went on a 14-0 run to take control. Chelsea Marandola (24 points, six rebounds, five steals) helped Providence (19-15) close out its first winning season since 1992.
Sunday’s other quarterfinal game featured Illinois at Illinois State in a back-and-forth matchup. Illinois State came out on top 53-51 to earn a semifinal home game against Cal starting at 8:05 p.m. ET Thursday, April 1. Cal defeated BYU on Saturday to earn its spot in the Final Four.
Illinois State (28-7) led most of the second half until Illinois’ Jenna Smith (12 points, eight rebounds) hit a 3-pointer to take her team up 51-50. Illinois State’s Katie Broadway (11 points) answered with her third 3-pointer of the game, with 19 seconds left. Teammate Nicolle Lewis (14 points, nine rebounds) sealed the win for Illinois State with a block of a last-second shot by Illinois (19-15).
Quarterfinals/Round of 8
Sunday, March 28
Miami 73, Providence 65
Michigan 78, Syracuse 52
Illinois State 53, Illinois 51
Wednesday, March 31
Miami at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, April 1
Cal at Illinois State, 8:05 p.m. ET