September 18, 2006 – Officials of the Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament announced today that the 2007 field will expand to 48 teams for the first time in the event’s history.
The eight-team expansion was planned to accommodate an automatic bid for every conference. The WNIT is guaranteeing that each of the nation’s 31 conferences will automatically have at least one spot guaranteed for one of their teams in the Postseason WNIT.
The enhancement comes on the heals of a well-received eight-team expansion last year that included automatic berths for teams that won their regular season championship but lost in their conference tournament and did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“This is a continuation of our long-term growth plans for the event, particularly in light of the fact that 2007 will be the event’s 10-year anniversary,” WNIT Executive Director Brent Amick said. “We are very happy to be able to increase the number of postseason play opportunities and broaden the participation in the event by ensuring all conferences will have representation in the WNIT. It’s a very valuable step in the growth of women’s basketball.”
The selection of the 48 teams for the Postseason WNIT will be according to the following:
1. Thirty-one (31) spots will be filled with one team per conference. That team will be the highest-finishing team in the conference’s regular-season standings, that did not advance to the NCAA Tournament. As in the past, the teams’ record must be at or above .500.
2. The remaining seventeen (17) berths will be filled by the top teams available based on the selection criteria used in the past.
The 2007 Postseason WNIT will feature 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the championship. All games in the single-elimination format are played at the home facilities of participating schools.
The WNIT field will be announced the evening of the NCAA Tournament selections. Games may begin Wednesday, March 14. The championship game will be played on Saturday, March 31, 2007 to better accommodate television coverage of the game.