The IU women’s basketball team was hoping to hear its name called as one of the 64-teams selected for the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
Instead, the Hoosiers will participate in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. IU will open the WNIT at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bloomington at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall against the Ball State Cardinals out of the Mid-American Conference.
After not being selected to the NCAA Tournament, they found out about an hour later the WNIT would be their postseason destination. Later Monday night, the bracket was released and they learned where they would be in the bracket.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to be selected to compete in the WNIT," IU Coach Teri Moren said in an IU athletics release. "To make the postseason for the second time in three seasons and back-to-back seasons since we joined the NCAA umbrella in 1981-82 is a tremendous feat for us.”
The Hoosiers last participated in the WNIT in 2014 when they made the third round of the tournament. It is the program’s eighth appearance.
The winner of the Ball State-IU matchup will face off against the winner of the Saint Louis-IUPUI matchup, which also takes place Thursday in St. Louis. The Cardinals finished the season 21-10 overall and 14-4 in conference. Ball State is ranked 123rd in the RPI rankings as of March 13.
IU was a nine-seed a season ago in the NCAA Tournament and was hoping to make the big dance for the second straight season for the first time since 1994-95. As a conference, the Big Ten saw just four teams make the NCAAs with the Maryland Terrapins being the highest seeded team as a three-seed.
The Hoosiers came into Selection Monday squarely on the bubble. Losses throughout the season to Auburn, Western Kentucky, Michigan State and Purdue were all factors in IU not being selected. Each of those teams ended up in the Tournament.
IU Coach Teri Moren expressed after her team’s loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament that she thought they had done enough to make the NCAA Tournament. The Hoosiers will now shift their attention to the WNIT.
“Postseason play is the main goal of this program, and gives us the building blocks for where this program is going,” Moren said in the statement. “We are even more excited to host postseason basketball in newly renovated Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and for our crowd to help us make a deep run in this tournament."
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