Lady Pirates To Face Drexel In WNIT

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team's season will continue in the 2010 Women's National Invitation Tournament as the Lady Pirates have earned an at-large berth, according to an announcement late Monday night by the event's selection committee. The selection marks the fourth postseason bid in program history.

"We are of course extremely excited about earning our first-ever bid to the WNIT," head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener stated. "I think it is a testament to the many great things our team has accomplished this season. I feel we are deserving and it is nice to know that people outside of Greenville think highly enough of our program to grant us the privilege of playing in the postseason. We are very grateful and look forward to preparing for a tough Drexel team."

ECU (22-10) will travel to Philadelphia Friday March 19 to face the Drexel Dragons, an at-large selection from the Colonial Athletic Association. Game time will be announced by the host institution tomorrow. The winner of the contest will square off against the winner of the first-round tilt between Maryland and Iona.

Drexel garnered an overall record of 17-14 this season and fell to Delaware 76-71 in overtime in the 2010 CAA Tournament quarterfinals. East Carolina has played the Dragons just once in program history, picking up a 66-54 win in the 2005 Lady Pirate Invitational at Minges Coliseum Dec. 4.

The Lady Pirates have participated in the 1973 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national tournament as well as the 1982 and 2007 NCAA Tournaments. East Carolina earned automatic bids in 1973 and 2007 by winning the AIAW regionals and the Conference USA Tournament, respectively. The Lady Pirates' lone win in five postseason games is a 60-49 win over Indiana State March 23, 1973 in the AIAW consolation round. Most recently, ECU fell to eventual NCAA national runner-up Rutgers March 18 of the 2007 tourney.

Houston (17-14), by virtue of its second-place finish in the C-USA standings, clinched the league's automatic berth into the WNIT field when regular season champion Tulane knocked off UAB 62-54 to earn the NCAA automatic bid. The Cougars hit the road to face Texas Tech Thursday. SMU (20-10), which finished third in the standings, also received an at-large berth into the 64-team event and will travel to New Mexico Wednesday.

In reaching the semifinals of the 2010 C-USA Tournament, East Carolina matched the second-most wins in a single season in program history, matching the 1980-81 squad with 22 victories. The Lady Pirates have also set new season standards for points (2,300) and three-point field goals made (175), heading into postseason play.

This year’s WNIT field features five teams each from the Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic 10, and Colonial Conferences. The Mountain West has four teams, and the Pac 10, Missouri Valley, Mid-American, Conference USA, and ACC have three each. Other conferences with more than one team in the field include: Big 12 (2), SEC (2), West Coast (2), and WAC (2).

Here are the first-round pairings (All game times to be announced Tuesday):

Round 1
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
SMU at New Mexico
UC Davis at Cal
New Mexico State at Arizona State
Butler at Illinois State
Eastern Michigan at Purdue
Prairie View A&M at Kansas
American at Old Dominion
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Eastern Washington at Oregon
Pepperdine at BYU
Houston at Texas Tech
Eastern Illinois at Marquette
Mississippi at Samford
Providence at Boston University
Gardner-Webb at Charlotte
North Carolina A&T at Wake Forest
South Florida at Florida
Florida Gulf Coast at Miami
Robert Morris at St. Bonaventure
Duquesne at Northwestern
Harvard at Syracuse
Richmond at Delaware
VCU at St. Joseph’s
Hofstra at Penn State
Friday, March 19, 2010
Nevada at Wyoming
Stephen F. Austin at Creighton
Illinois at Western Kentucky
Oral Roberts at Missouri State
Iona at Maryland
East Carolina at Drexel
Kent State at Michigan
Pittsburgh at Toledo
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Utah at St. Mary’s (CA)
Here are the 64 teams in the tournament:
31 Automatic Berths with team record

American (22-9), Patriot
Boston University (16-14), America East
Brigham Young (20-9), Mountain West
Butler (23-9), Horizon
California (18-13), Pac 10
Charlotte (17-13), Atlantic 10
Eastern Illinois (23-10), Ohio Valley
Eastern Washington (19-11), Big Sky
Florida (14-16), SEC
Florida Gulf Coast (24-6), Atlantic Sun
Gardner-Webb (28-4), Big South
Harvard (20-8), Ivy League
Houston (17-14), Conference USA
Illinois State (24-7), Missouri Valley
Iona (18-13), Metro Atlantic
Nevada (17-15), WAC
North Carolina A&T (21-10), Mid-Eastern
Old Dominion (18-13), Colonial
Oral Roberts (23-9), Summit
Prairie View A&M (15-13), SWAC
Providence (16-14), Big East
Purdue (14-16), Big Ten
Robert Morris (23-8), Northeast
Saint Mary’s – CA (21-9), West Coast
Samford (22-10), Southern
Stephen F. Austin (18-10), Southland
Texas Tech (17-13), Big 12
Toledo (24-8), MAC
UC Davis (21-10), Big West
Wake Forest (18-13), Atlantic Coast
Western Kentucky (21-10), Sun Belt
33 At-large Berths with team record

Arizona State (17-13), Pac 10
Creighton (20-10), Missouri Valley
Delaware (21-11), Colonial
Drexel (17-13), Colonial
Duquesne (20-11), Atlantic 10
East Carolina (22-10), Conference USA
Eastern Michigan (22-8), Mid-American
Hofstra (19-13), Colonial
Illinois (16-14), Big Ten
Kansas (15-15), Big 12
Kent State (20-10), Mid-American
Marquette (16-15), Big East
Maryland (19-12), Atlantic Coast
Miami (17-13), Atlantic Coast
Michigan (17-13), Big Ten
Mississippi (17-14), SEC
Missouri State (20-10), Missouri Valley
New Mexico (18-12), Mountain West
New Mexico State (18-13), WAC
Northwestern (16-14), Big Ten
Oregon (16-15), Pac 10
Penn State (17-13), Big Ten
Pepperdine (20-11), West Coast
Pittsburgh (16-14), Big East
Richmond (19-12), Atlantic 10
Saint Bonaventure (22-9), Atlantic 10
Saint Joseph’s (17-14), Atlantic 10
South Florida (15-15), Big East
SMU (20-10), Conference USA
Syracuse (22-10), Big East
Utah (22-11), Mountain West
VCU (20-12), Colonial
Wyoming (19-11), Mountain West

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