Courtesy: Paul Ridings, Jr., SHSU Sports Information
The Sam Houston women’s basketball team will play the Tulane Green Wave Thursdays night in New Orleans in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
The full 64-team field for the postseason WNIT was announced Monday night.
The winner of the Sam Houston vs. Tulane game faces the Arkansas vs. Memphis winner.
Those two teams will face off Thursday in Fayetteville.
Tulane reached the quarterfinals of the Conference USA post-season tournament, falling to host Tulsa 75-68.
The Green Wave produced a 22-8 record during the 2013 seasons.
Tulane tied for second place in Conference USA with an 11-4 league mark.
Sam Houston State earned its WNIT postseason berth by finishing as co-champions in the Southland Conference and advancing to its first Southland post-season tournament finals appearance.
The 2013 WNIT field will include 31 teams that earned automatic berths and 33 teams that are selected at-large.
“The girls and coaching staff are excited to still be playing basketball,” head coach Brenda Nichols said. “Looking at who some of the bubble teams are for NCAA selection, the WNIT should have an outstanding field this year. It’s a thrill to get to test ourselves against the best.”
The postseason WNIT will open with first-round games Wednesday through Friday, March 20-22.
The event culminates Saturday, April 6, with the championship game which will be telecast live on CBS Sports Network.
All games are hosted by participating schools.
Sam Houston earned its first women’s basketball Southland Conference regular season title in its 26 years in the league in 2013 with an 18-14 overall mark and 13-5 league record.
The WNIT schedule by round:
Round 1 – March 20-22
Round 2 – March 23-25
Round 3 – March 27-29
Quarterfinals – March 30-April 1
Semifinals – April 3-4
Championship Game – April 6, 2 p.m.
by Cheval John
After making their first national post-season tournament appearance, the Sam Houston State Bearkat women’s basketball team will start the 2012-13 season with an invite to the Pre-Season Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
The Bearkats will face the University of Delaware Blue Hens in the opening round of the tournament in Newark, Delaware.
The winner of the match will advance to the second round of the tournament
The Blue Hens were the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Conference Champions last season and are looking to start their title defense in style.
“From what I know, they are a very good team coming off last year,” Bearkat women’s basketball head coach Brenda Nichols said to a representative of the SHSU’s athletic department media relations.
“We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to being able to play some intense and exciting competitors.”
The Blue Hens will be led by senior forward/guard Elena Delle Donne.
Delle Donne is an All-American who averaged 26.1 points per game, made 91.9% of her free throws and shot 38.8% from the three-point line last season.
She received honors from the Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), United States Writers Association, the Naismith Award and John Wooden Award.
She was named “Player of the Year” by the CAA and was a finalist for “Player of the Year” by the WBCA, Naismith and Wooden Awards.
“You can’t really measure yourself as a player without going up against the best,” Nichols said. “There is no doubt she is one of the best and will be a true challenge for our team.”
The Bearkats are looking forward to that challenge as they are returning 12 letterman from last year’s team who were the West Division Champions of the Southland Conference and made their first national post-season appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
They made it to the semi-final round of the tournament, where they were knocked off by the University of Northern Iowa.
Leading the charge for the Bearkats are seniors Britni Martin and Sequeena Thomas.
Martin was ranked 10th in the nation for three-pointers (2.93 per game) and scored 523 total points for the season.
She was runner-up for the Southland Conference’s “Player of the Year” that went to Central Arkansas’ Megan Herbert.
Thomas led the Southland Conference in rebounds (12.6 per game).
She averaged 14.8 points per game and had an average of 2.0 blocks which ranked her #9 and #2 in the conference, respectively.
The tournament consists of 16 teams from around the country and will be held from November 9 to November 16-17.
The Bearkats-Blue Hen match will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information on the tournament, visit www.womensnit.com.