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Monday March 17, 2008Women's Basketball Selected for Postseason WNIT, Earns First-Round Bye

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida women's basketball team received an invitation to compete in the 2008 Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament and is one of 16 teams earning a first-round bye in the 48-team bracket.

 

On Monday, March 24th, the Gators will face the winner of the opening-round game between South Florida (16-15) and Florida Gulf Coast (21-8). The location of the second-round game involving Florida, however, will be determined at a later date.

 

Florida defeated Florida Gulf Coast, 78-52, on December 4 this season in Gainesville in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The Gators sport a 34-4 all-time record against South Florida. The Bulls, however, won the last meeting, which was a 61-56 decision in the first round of the 2005 WNIT played in Tampa.

 

Florida will be making its fourth appearance in the WNIT, reaching the title game in 1985 and in 2000.

 

This is the 14th time in the last 16 years the Gators have earned a postseason berth, with 11 NCAA Tournament berths to their resume.

 

The remarkable job done by new head coach Amanda Butler and her staff in turning around a Gator squad that posted a 9-22 record last season has culminated in an 18-13 ledger entering the 2008 WNIT.

 

"We are very excited about the opportunity to continue our season and compete for a championship," Butler said. "We knew early during the year that we were a postseason team and the announcement of the WNIT bid makes that a reality. We've worked hard all season for this chance and hopefully, we'll take advantage of the opportunity in front of us."

 

Butler, the eighth different full-time head coach in the 34-year history of the Florida womenís basketball program, is the first to guide the Gators to a postseason berth in their first year with the Gators.

 

With an RPI of No. 42, according to www.collegeRPI.com, the Gators sport the second-highest rating of the 48 teams in the WNIT field, with only No. 39 Gonzaga sitting higher.

 

All games are held on the campuses of participating schools.While 32 teams will play in the first round, 16 teams received a bye and will begin their tournament with a second-round game.The Postseason WNIT features 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the championship.The WNIT championship begins at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, April 5, and will be hosted by one of the two final participating schools.

 

The WNIT awards an automatic berth to each of the nationís 31 conferences. The spot goes to the team that finishes the highest in the regular-season conference standings that does not advance to the NCAA Tournament. If there is a tie, the WNIT abides by the conference tiebreaker. To be considered for WNIT selection, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better.

 

The remaining spots are filled by teams selected at-large.

 

This yearís field features five teams from the Big 10, four teams from the Big East and four teams from SEC. Other conferences that got more than one team in the field were the Big 12 and Missouri Valley (three each), and the Sun Belt, Atlantic 10, ACC, and Colonial (two each).

 

Game times will be announced Tuesday, March 18, by the WNIT. For more information, visit the Web site at www.womensnit.com

 

 

Here are the 48 teams in the 2008 tournament:

Automatic Berths

American (Patriot)

Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt)

Boise State (WAC)

Boston College (ACC)

Bowling Green (Mid-American)

Charlotte (Atlantic 10)

Colorado (Big 12)

Dartmouth (Ivy)

Evansville (Missouri Valley)

Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Idaho State (Big Sky)

Iona (Metro Atlantic)

James Madison (Colonial)

Kentucky (SEC)

Marquette (Big East)

Michigan State (Big Ten)

North Carolina A&T (MEAC)

Quinnipiac (Northeast)

Prairie View A&M (SWAC

Radford (Big South)

South Dakota State (Summit)

Southeast Missouri (Ohio Valley)

Southern Miss (C-USA)

TCU (Mountain West)

Texas State (Southland)

UC Davis (Big West)

Vermont (America East)

Western Carolina (Southern)

Wisconsin-Green Bay (Horizon)

 

At-large Berths

Dayton

Drake

Creighton

Florida

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Michigan

Mississippi State

MTSU

NC State

South Carolina

South Florida

St. Johnís

Texas Tech

Villanova

Virginia Comm.

Wisconsin

 

 

Floridaís NWIT and WNIT Chronology

(6-3 Record in Tournament Games)

Year

Round

Opponent

Result

Location

1985

First

Montana

W, 70-49

Amarillo, Texas

 

Semifinal

Drake

W, 87-80

Amarillo, Texas

Final

LSU

L, 74-54

Amarillo, Texas

2000

First

Dayton

W, 97-93

Dayton, Ohio

 

 

Second

Memphis

W, 74-71

Memphis, Tenn.

Quarterfinal

Maryland

W, 77-57

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Semifinal

Arkansas

W, 83-62

Fayetteville, Ark.

Final

Wisconsin

L, 75-74

Madison, Wis.

 

2005

First

USF

L, 61-56

Tampa, Fla.

 

 

 

END OF REPORT

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