By CHRISTOPHER RILEY
Assistant Media Relations Director
Texas State University
Bobcats make first-ever WNIT appearance with game against Panthers
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Texas State will play host to Prairie View A&M in the Bobcats’ first-ever Women’s National Invitation Tournament game on Thursday, the WNIT selection committee announced Monday. An exact game time will be announced on Tuesday, March 18.
The Bobcats (20-10, 14-2 SLC) earned an automatic bid to the WNIT as the Southland Conference’s representative. Texas State will make its third trip to the postseason and first to the WNIT, joining NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997 and 2003.
A 106-88 loss in the opening round of the Southland Conference Tournament to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi derailed Texas State’s quest for an NCAA Tournament bid, but the ‘Cats earned their WNIT berth as the SLC regular season champion.
Prairie View A&M (22-11, 15-3 SWAC) had a similar road to the WNIT after winning the SWAC regular season title. The Panthers lost a close 63-61 decision in the SWAC tournament championship game to No. 2 seed Jackson State.
SLC Player of the Year Joyce Ekworomadu and her 18.9 points per game leads the Bobcats into the postseason while All-SLC Third Team selection Brooke DeGrate anchors the defense as Texas State’s leader in steals and blocks. The Bobcats rank among the nation’s leaders in scoring as a team at 76.5 points per game while leading the Southland in scoring, field goal percentage, three point shooting and rebounding.
The Panthers are led by the trio of Candice Thomas, Gaati Werema and Chari Smith. Thomas leads Prairie View A&M with 15.3 points per game and also tops the Panthers in assists and steals. Werema is the team’s leading rebounder with a 7.8 per game average while Smith ranked second in the conference in blocks. As a team the Panthers led the SWAC in scoring, field goal percentage, blocks and assists.
Fans can listen to the game live on 89.9 FM KTSW or online at txstatebobcats.com. Live stats will also be available via Stretch Internet at www.txstatebobcats.com. The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to play Texas Tech, who earned one of 16 byes, in Lubbock on Saturday in the WNIT second round.
The WNIT kicks off postseason action Wednesday with first-round games. All games are held on the campuses of participating schools. While 32 teams will play in the first round, 16 teams received a bye and will begin their tournament with a second-round game. The Postseason WNIT features 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the championship. The WNIT championship begins at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, April 5, and will be hosted by one of the two final participating schools.
The WNIT awards an automatic berth to each of the nation’s 31 conferences. The spot goes to the team that finishes the highest in the regular-season conference standings that does not advance to the NCAA Tournament. If there is a tie, the WNIT abides by the conference tiebreaker. To be considered for WNIT selection, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better.
Game times will be announced Tuesday, March 18, by the WNIT. For more information, visit the Web site at www.womensnit.com
Here are the 48 teams in the tournament:
Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt)
Boise State (WAC)
Boston College (ACC)
Bowling Green (Mid-American)
Charlotte (Atlantic 10)
Colorado (Big 12)
Evansville (Missouri Valley)
Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)
Gonzaga (West Coast)
Idaho State (Big Sky)
Iona (Metro Atlantic)
James Madison (Colonial)
Marquette (Big East)
Michigan State (Big Ten)
North Carolina A&T (MEAC)
Prairie View A&M (SWAC
Radford (Big South)
South Dakota State (Summit)
Southeast Missouri (Ohio Valley)
Southern Miss (C-USA)
TCU (Mountain West)
Texas State (Southland)
UC Davis (Big West)
Vermont (America East)
Western Carolina (Southern)
Wisconsin-Green Bay (Horizon)