FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast women's basketball team will face the Drexel Dragons from the Colonial Athletic Association in the first round of the 2011 Women's National Invitational Tournament on Friday, March 18 at Alico Arena. Tip-off for the game is set for 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for the 2011 WNIT first round matchup will be available for sale at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning (Mar. 15). Ticket prices are $9 for general admission and $14-21 for reserved seating. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting the FGCU ticket office in person, by calling the ticket office at 1-239-590-7145 or by ordering online. To purchase tickets online, please visit www.FGCUAthletics.com and click on the Tickets link. Once the page is re-directed, click on ‘Buy Tickets Online’. Simply follow the directions to purchase your tickets.
The FGCU Athletic Department would like to extend a brief opportunity for current season ticket holders, boosters, and sponsors to reserve their seats for the WNIT game. The FGCU Ticket Office will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning (Mar. 15) and will remain open until 5 p.m. for these valued supporters. On Wednesday morning (Mar. 16) at 8 a.m., any unreserved seats will be opened up for sale to the general public.
The Eagles, who posted a 27-3 overall record to date, earned the program’s fourth consecutive automatic bid to the WNIT after winning the A-Sun regular season crown with a 17-3 record, FGCU secured its eighth 21-plus win season in the nine-year program history.
Head coach Karl Smesko and the Eagles, who own the nation’s third longest home winning streak (41 games) behind UConn and Stanford, are currently 10-0 overall in non-conference play and 17-0 overall at home this season. FGCU is also a perfect 7-0 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 University of Maryland Baltimore County match-up.
Drexel has made the postseason for a third straight season and returns to the WNIT for the second year in a row.
The 2010-11 Dragons finished the regular season in sixth place in the CAA with a 10-8 conference mark. Junior Kamile Nacickaite and senior Jasmina Rosseel, who each earned 2010-11 CAA All-Conference honors, lead the Drexel offense. Nacickaite picked up second team All-CAA accolades after averaging nearly 18 points per contest while also leading the team in rebounds and steals. Nacickaite currently ranks third in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 47.4 percent (73-of-154). A third team All-CAA selection, Rosseel is Drexel's second leading scorer (11.5) and will finish her time as a Dragon as the only player in the program's history to play on a winning team in four consecutive seasons.
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 2, 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. 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 5 teams from each of the Southeastern, Colonial, and Atlantic 10 Conferences, and 4 from the Missouri Valley and Mid American. The Pacific 10, Conference USA, Big 10, Mountain West, Big West, and Big 12 all have 3 teams. Other conferences represented in the field include: West Coast (2), Atlantic Coast (2), WAC (2), American East (1), SWAC (1), Big East (1), Ohio Valley (1), Big South (1), Ivy (1), Southern (1), MAAC (1), Horizon (1), Northeastern (1), MEAC (1), Southland (1), Sun Belt (1), Atlantic Sun (1), Summit (1), Patriot (1), and Big Sky (1).
For more information on the 2011 WNIT, please visit www.womensnit.com.
2011 Postseason WNIT first-round games
Wednesday, March 16
Pepperdine at Oklahoma State
Portland State at Wyoming
Butler at Wisconsin
Wichita State at Kansas
Delaware at Toledo
Loyola-Maryland at Old Dominion
Liberty at Charlotte
Appalachian State at South Carolina
Thursday, March 17
UC Riverside at Colorado
California at Cal Poly
UC Santa Barbara at Southern Cal
Nevada at St. Mary’s CA
Arizona at Utah State
Denver at BYU
Central Michigan at Illinois State
Kent State at Duquesne
Rice at Missouri State
Lamar at Arkansas
Southern at Tulane
Oral Roberts at TCU
Lehigh at St. Bonaventure
Monmouth at Syracuse
Michigan at Eastern Michigan
UNC Wilmington at Richmond
Creighton at Northwestern
Alabama at Memphis
Auburn at Tennessee Tech
Boston College at Yale
VCU at St. Joseph’s
Morgan State at Virginia
Friday, March 18
UMBC at Florida
Drexel at FGCU