UNI Earns WNIT Bid; Hosts First-Round Game
The UNI women's basketball team got the news it was expecting late Monday night (March 12, 2018). For the eighth time in the past ninth years, the Panthers will be competing for a post-season championship.
Coach Tanya Warren's squad earned an at-large selection to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). UNI (19-13) will host Horizon League-member Milwaukee (20-11) at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on Thursday. Game time will be determined on Tuesday, UNI athletic officials said.
The announcement comes on the heels of UNI’s run to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title game. The Panthers dropped a 75-63 decision to Drake at the Taxslayer Center in Moline, Ill., Sunday afternoon.
"Going into the (MVC) tournament, we were told by the (WNIT) committee that we were certainly being considered and we had to have a good showing. I think we've done that," Warren said earlier Monday, at UNI's weekly press conference. "When you look at how we've played down the stretch and the history we've had playing in the WNIT, I think it swings in our favor."
The Panthers have won 11 of their final 14 games entering WNIT play. They started the season 2-6 during the non-conference portion of their schedule.
"To be able to play in post-season play with this young team only helps, because that experience is something you value," Warren said. It gives you some momentum going into the off-season and into next season."
This is the ninth-straight season the Panthers have won at least 17 games, and the fourth time in the last six years they've received a bid to the WNIT. The last time UNI was part of the 64-team field, the Panthers advanced to the third-round in 2016.
UNI and Milwaukee have met eight times on the court, but never in postseason play. The Panthers from Cedar Falls lead the all-time series against the Panthers from Milwaukee, 6-2. The last meeting came in 2010, with UNI taking a 72-58 decision in Milwaukee.
First-round action begins Wednesday, March 14 and continues through Friday, March 16. Round 2 games take place March 17-20; Round 3 games are March 21-23, Round 4 runs March 24-26, and the semifinals are March 28-29. The championship game will be held at 3 p.m. ET on March 31 and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. All games are hosted by participating schools [for WNIT bracket, CLICK HERE).
This year's WNIT berth is UNI's seventh overall, while the Panthers have earned three NCAA Tournament bids in program history.