WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana—The Purdue women's basketball team will play host to Eastern Michigan in the first round of the 2010 Postseason Women's National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday, March 17, at 7 p.m. ET in Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers as the highest-finishing Big Ten team not to go to the NCAA Tournament, received one of the 31 automatic bids awarded by the WNIT while Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State were awarded at-large berths.
The Eastern Michigan finished 22-8 overall, 11-5 in the Mid-American Conference and won four of its last five contests. The Eagles are led by sophomore guard Tavelyn James who averages 20.4 points per game and was a first team all-MAC selection.
Purdue (14-16) is led in scoring by sophomore Brittany Rayburn who is averaging 14.4 points per game , while senior FahKara Malone is tops in assists (4.0 apg) and steals (2.7 spg). The 5-foot-3 point guard set the school record for career steals earlier this season and currently has 344 thefts. Senior Jodi Howell is Purdue's best three-point threat and has made 55 of 140 from long range this season. The Alexandria, Ind., native holds the Big Ten record for career three-point field goal percentage and is second all time at Purdue for made threes.
The Boilermakers are playing in the Postseason WNIT for the first time and have extended their streak of consecutive postseason appearances to 17 seasons, the previous 16 were all in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue's only other postseason appearance outside the NCAA Tournament was the NWIT in 1988. The Boilermakers finished second with a 2-1 record in Amarillo, Texas.
The Postseason WNIT is a single-elimination format with one game played per round at the campus facility of the designated home team. Attendance is evaluated for the winning teams after each game to determine whether they will host the next round. Round one dates are March 17 to 19, and the second round, dates are March 20 to 23. If Purdue is to advance and host, the game will be played on Sunday, March 21. Round three is March 24 to 26, the quarterfinals are March 27 to 29, the semifinals are March 31 to April 1 and the championship game, to be played on the campus of the host team, will be Saturday, April 3.
The WNIT committee will choose 64 teams for its postseason tournament this year. The field will consist of 31 automatic berths one from each established conference and 33 at-large teams. To be considered for an at-large berth, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better, including conference tournament games.
For more information on the WNIT please visit womensnit.com.