Four League Teams Earn WNIT Tournament Berths
Monday, March 12, 2012

For the second consecutive season, a league-best four teams will represent the Missouri Valley Conference in the Women's National Invitation Tournament, as Missouri State, Illinois State, Wichita State and Drake earned bids to the 64-team tournament, as announced Monday evening.  The WNIT kicks off postseason action Wednesday with first-round games.  Game times will be announced Tuesday, March 13, by the WNIT.  All games are held on the campuses of participating schools.

Thursday, March 15
Central Michigan (20-15) at Illinois State (18-12), 7:05 PM
UMKC (22-11) at Missouri State (22-8), 7 PM
Drake (18-15) at South Dakota (22-7), 7 PM

Friday, March 16
Oral Roberts (20-10) at Wichita State (19-12), 7:05 PM

Lady Bears Begin WNIT Play Thursday at Home Against UMKC
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State women’s basketball team will be returning to the postseason for the third consecutive year after receiving the Missouri Valley Conference’s automatic bid to the 2012 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) late Monday evening. To kick off the 18th postseason tournament trip in school history, the Lady Bears (22-8) will host a first round game against the University of Missouri-Kansas City (22-11) on Thursday (March 15) at JQH Arena.

Illinois State Hosts Central Michigan in WNIT Thursday
NORMAL, Ill.–  The Illinois State women’s basketball team will host Central Michigan in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Thursday at 7:05 p.m., at Redbird Arena. It is the second-straight season that ISU has started Postseason WNIT play hosting CMU. The Redbirds received an at-large bid into the Postseason WNIT and will make their fourth-consecutive appearance in the tournament.

Illinois State is making its 11th overall appearance in the WNIT (1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and fifth in the last six seasons. The Redbirds are 18-16 all-time in the tournament, including an 11-3 mark in the last three years, and have advanced to the semifinals in each of the last three seasons.

Central Michigan, a member of the Mid-American Conference, is 20-15 and received an at-large bid. The Chippewas finished fifth in the MAC with a record of 8-8 and lost to Eastern Michigan, 72-71, in the conference tournament championship game.

Illinois State leads the all-time series with Central Michigan, 7-1. ISU won the first six meetings, with four in the 1970's and a home-and-home series in 1994-95. Central Michigan’s only win came on Nov. 25, 2001, in Redbird Arena, 72-62. ISU and CMU faced off last season in the opening round of the WNIT, when the Redbirds won, 72-59, in Normal, Ill.

Shockers to Host WNIT Game vs. Oral Roberts Friday
WICHITA, Kan. - For the second-straight season the Wichita State University women's basketball team earned an invitation to the post-season Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).  The Shockers will host Oral Roberts at Charles Koch Arena Friday, March 16 at 7:05 p.m. 

It is the first time Wichita State has hosted a WNIT game since Oklahoma visited in 1999. 

The Shockers are heading to post-season play for the third-consecutive season, marking the first time WSU has reached post-season play in three-straight years.  Wichita State earned a spot in the inaugural WBI in 2010, where they recorded the first post-season victory in school history, and followed with an invitation to the WNIT last year. 

This is Wichita State's fourth trip to the WNIT since 1999.  The Shockers played at Kansas in 2011, at Arkansas in 2000, and hosted Oklahoma in 1999. 

Wichita State is 19-12 and needs one win to tie the school record for victories in a season.  The Shockers have already produced the highest three-year win total (54) and tied the highest two-year win total (36) in school history.  This season also included a program-record-tying 10-game winning streak from Dec. 9 - Jan. 21. 

Drake Accepts NIT Postseason Tournament Bid
DES MOINES, Iowa -   The Drake women’s basketball team has accepted an invitation from the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, and will travel to South Dakota on Thursday, March 15. The game time will be announced Tuesday by tournament officials.

The Bulldogs (18-15, 9-9 MVC) will play in the postseason for the fourth time in the last seven years, and will be making their fifth appearance in the NIT since 1998. The Bulldogs under head coach Amy Stephens have played in 2004, 2006 and made their last appearance in 2008, when they defeated Wisconsin Green Bay in the first round, 65-56 before falling at Illinois, 48-44.

Drake finished the 2012 regular season tied for fifth with Indiana State and Northern Iowa but fell to the number seven seed in the MVC Tournament due to tiebreakers. However, the Bulldogs won three games in three days to advance to the championship game against Creighton yesterday. The Bluejays defeated the Bulldogs, 53-38.

The Bulldogs are led by the 2012 MVC Player of the Year Rachael Hackbarth, who leads the Missouri Valley in scoring (19.0 ppg), rebounding (11.6 rpg), double-doubles (25) and field goal percentage (52.6). Hackbarth was named to the all-MVC first-team as well as the all-defensive team and all-tournament team. Freshman Kyndal Clark is next in scoring (9.7 ppg) and she was named to the MVC all-freshman.

South Dakota (22-7) finished the regular season winning 12 of their last 13 games in the Summit League. The Coyotes finished third in the league in just their first season of being a member. The two teams last played during the 1981 season in Des Moines in a game the Bulldogs won, 114-52. Drake is 4-0 all-time against South Dakota.