November 17, 2011 – Baylor and Notre Dame continue their march toward a possible 1 vs. 2 early-season matchup with semifinal games tonight in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Baylor, ranked No. 1 in the country, hosts No. 22 UCLA at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. The Bears, who gave Kim Mulkey her 300th victory the last time out, are 88-1 at home in nonconference games under the 12th year coach. All-American Brittney Griner leads the charge with 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Odyssey Sims (16.5), Brooklyn Pope (12.5), and Destiny Williams (10.5) also are averaging double figures.
UCLA, 2-0 to start the tournament, is playing in its first Preseason WNIT. Despite offseason changes with a new coach in Cori Close and their top returning player down with a season-ending injury, the Bruins are finding their identity. Junior Atonye Nyingifa has been consistent for UCLA, scoring 16 points in each of the games.
Tonight’s other semifinal features Hartford at No. 2 Notre Dame, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. No. 2 ranked Notre Dame has had at least five players score in double figures in both of its outings. Skylar Diggins leads the Irish with 17.5 points and 7.5 assists per game, and has a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio this year. Head coach Muffet McGraw has won 558 games in her 25 years at Notre Dame.
Hartford, the reigning America East tournament champion, has wins over Manhattan and Long Island. Both the Hawks and Notre Dame have played strong defense, with Hartford holding its opponents to 45 points a game, and Notre Dame forcing its opponents into an average of 41 turnovers a game.
The four teams that lost in Round 2 will play one more WNIT game each in Consolation Round 3. Long Island is at Tennessee Tech at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local CT time) and Chattanooga plays at Indiana State at 8 p.m. ET/local time. Both games are Friday, Nov. 18.
The eight teams that lost in Round 1 last Friday will play two more WNIT games in Consolation Rounds 1&2. Here are the details of those games, which are Friday and Saturday:
Akron will host Detroit, Drexel, and Howard on Friday and Saturday. Detroit and Drexel will meet in the first round beginning at 5 p.m. ET Friday, and Akron and Howard will play in the 7:30 p.m. ET game later that evening. On Saturday, the winners of Friday’s games will play each other, and the losers will play each other. Saturday’s game times are 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET, with Akron playing in the 7:30 p.m. game no matter if it wins or loses on Friday.
The other host site is McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. McNeese will host ETSU, UAB, and Manhattan. In the first game Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. CT), UAB and ETSU will match up. The second game features McNeese and Manhattan at 8:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, the winners of Friday’s games will play each other, and the losers will play each other. Saturday’s game times are 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET, with McNeese playing in the 1 p.m. game no matter if it wins or loses on Friday.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
Hartford at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. ET
UCLA at Baylor, 8 p.m. ET
Consolation Round 3
Friday, Nov. 18
Long Island at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m. ET
Chattanooga at Indiana State, 8 p.m. ET
Consolation Rounds 1&2
Friday, Nov. 18
Detroit vs. Drexel at Akron, 5 p.m. ET
Howard at Akron, 7:30 p.m. ET
At McNeese State
UAB vs. ETSU at McNeese, 6:30 p.m. ET
Manhattan at McNeese, 8:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 19
Detroit-Drexel winner vs. Akron-Howard winner, time TBA
Detroit-Drexel loser vs. Akron-Howard loser, time TBA
At McNeese State
UAB-ETSU winner vs. McNeese-Manhattan winner, time TBA
UAB-ETSU loser vs. McNeese-Manhattan loser, time TBA