|SDSU and USD women get bids to WNIT Tournament
Sports Staff - March 14, 2017
VERMILLION, S.D. – The South Dakota women's basketball team will host North Dakota in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) likely at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The 64-team bracket was announced late Monday. The winner will face either Iowa or Missouri State in the second round at a date and time to be determined.
As the reigning WNIT Champions, South Dakota (22-8) earned an at-large bid to the tournament after finishing with an 11-5 record in the Summit League. USD is one of three league teams to earn a spot in the WNIT as the league boasted its best RPI (11th) in history at the end of the regular season. The Coyotes are competing in a postseason tournament for the seventh consecutive season with its fourth WNIT appearance in that span. South Dakota is 8-2 all-time in the WNIT.
South Dakota State also made the WNIT.
The Jackrabbits host Northern Illinois out of the Mid-American Conference Thursday in the first round of the Women's NIT in the friendly confines of Frost Arena.
"The WNIT will be an exciting challenge for our team. We are incredibly thankful to our administration for helping secure a first-round home game," head coach Aaron Johnston said. "Playing an excellent opponent like Northern Illinois will be a great postseason opportunity for our team."
Thursday's game marks the Jackrabbits' fourth appearance in the postseason WNIT. South Dakota State went 2-2 in its first two WNIT Tournament appearances in 2007 and 2008. The Jackrabbits reached the postseason tournament's quarterfinals in 2007, receiving a bye in the first round, beating Illinois State (61-48) in the second round, Indiana State (60-53) in the third round, but losing to Wyoming (70-59) in the quarterfinals.
In their last WNIT Tournament in 2014, the Jackrabbits reached the semifinals with wins over Butler (78-61), Creighton (62-51), Minnesota (70-62) and Indiana (76-64). The Jackrabbits lost at UTEP, 66-63.
The Jackrabbits, 22-8 overall, secured a berth in the WNIT as an at-large bid after losing in the semifinals of The Summit League Tournament Mar. 6. South Dakota State recorded its 20th 20-win season since the program began in 1966-67 and its sixth consecutive 20-plus win season.