FGCU to Face Miami in WNIT First Round
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast women's basketball team will face in-state foe Miami in the first round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament on Thursday, March 18 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.

The Eagles, who posted a 24-6 overall record to date, earned the program’s third automatic bid to the WNIT after finishing the A-Sun regular season in second place. FGCU secured its seventh 21-plus win season in the eight-year program history.

Head Coach Karl Smesko and the Eagles are currently 7-3 overall in non-conference play and 14-0 overall at home this season. FGCU is also a perfect 4-0 at home against non-conference opponents.

This will be the first meeting between the two programs. With a win in this year's tournament, the Eagles would advance to the second round to take on the winner of the Florida and USF match-up.

Miami's selection into the 64-team field marks the 11th postseason and fifth WNIT appearance in program history. In their most recent showing, the Hurricanes downed cross-town rival Florida International, 95-83, in the first round of the 2006 WNIT. Advancing into the second round was the furthest any Miami team had reached in the postseason WNIT.

The 2009-10 Hurricanes finished the regular season in a three-way tie for 10th place in the ACC with a 4-12 conference mark. Miami is led by sophomores Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams. Johnson became just the second player in program history to be named First Team All-ACC while Williams earned Second Team All-ACC accolades.

This is the first year of the expanded Postseason WNIT, and the field includes 31 teams that earned automatic berths and 33 teams that earned at-large berths.

The WNIT kicks off postseason action Wednesday with first-round games. All games are held on the campuses of participating schools. All 64 teams will play in the first round, featuring 32 games. That will be followed by 16 games in Round 2, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games, and the championship. The WNIT championship game will be played Saturday, April 3, and will be hosted by one of the two final participating schools.

The WNIT awards an automatic qualifying 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. A team earns the automatic qualifying berth regardless of its overall record. However, to be considered for a WNIT at-large berth, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better.

This year’s field features five teams each from the Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic 10, and Colonial Conferences. The Mountain West has four teams, and the Pac 10, Missouri Valley, Mid-American, Conference USA, and ACC have three each. Other conferences with more than one team in the field include: Big 12 (2), SEC (2), West Coast (2), and WAC (2).

Specific details regarding game time and ticket information will be released upon availability.

For more information on the 2010 WNIT, please visit www.womensnit.com.

Round 1
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SMU at New Mexico
UC Davis at Cal
New Mexico State at Arizona State
Butler at Illinois State
Eastern Michigan at Purdue
Prairie View A&M at Kansas
American at Old Dominion

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Eastern Washington at Oregon
Pepperdine at BYU
Houston at Texas Tech
Eastern Illinois at Marquette
Mississippi at Samford
Providence at Boston University
Gardner-Webb at Charlotte
North Carolina A&T at Wake Forest
South Florida at Florida
Florida Gulf Coast at Miami
Robert Morris at St. Bonaventure
Duquesne at Northwestern
Harvard at Syracuse
Richmond at Delaware
VCU at St. Joseph’s
Hofstra at Penn State

Friday, March 19, 2010
Nevada at Wyoming
Stephen F. Austin at Creighton
Illinois at Western Kentucky
Oral Roberts at Missouri State
Iona at Maryland
East Carolina at Drexel
Kent State at Michigan
Pittsburgh at Toledo

Sunday, March 21, 2010
Utah at St. Mary’s (CA)