Jackets earn preseason WNIT bid

On June 30, it was announced that the women’s basketball team will play in the 2009 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. This will be the Jackets’ second appearance in this tournament; the first came before the 2002-03 season, when the team reached the second round.

Tech is one of the 16 teams in the field and will host Winthrop in the opening round. The Jackets and Lady Eagles will face off for the fourth time in school history. In the last matchup, which occurred last season, Tech was able to defeat Winthrop 65-27 in the first round of the Bahamas Sunsplash Shootout. The winner of this year’s game, scheduled for Nov. 13, will play either Oklahoma State or Arkansas-Little Rock in the second round.

This year’s WNIT will include 11 teams that reached the postseason last year. This year’s field will include Arkansas-Little Rock, Bowling Green, Florida Gulf Coast, Marist, New Mexico, North Carolina A&T, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Winthrop, Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, Northern Colorado, Towson and the University of Texas-El Paso.

The event will run from Nov. 13-22. The second-round games will be played Nov. 15-16, the semifinals on Nov. 18-19 and the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 22. All games will be hosted by the participating schools.

Last year, No. 4 North Carolina defeated No. 2 Oklahoma 80-79 in the preseason WNIT championship game. The game featured a pair of top-five teams in a close game that had six ties and seven lead changes.

Tech’s berth in this year’s preseason WNIT is a mark of the team’s rise to promi nence in collegiate women’s basketball. Last year, the Jackets had a single preseason exhibition game against Troy. But after a third straight 20-win campaign, the Jackets, who were ranked as highly as No. 22 in the country last season, have begun to garner attention on the national stage.