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Tuesday March 16, 2010Women's Basketball to Play Host to USF in WNIT First Round Thursday

Gainesville, Fla.

The University of Florida women’s basketball team will compete in the postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament after earning an automatic berth into the 64-team field revealed late Monday evening.

 

The Gators (14-16) play host to South Florida (15-15) in the first round on Thu., March 18, with the start time and ticket information to be announced Tuesday.

 

Monday’s announcement placed Florida in a postseason tournament for the 16th time in the last 18 years, including each of the last three seasons under head coach Amanda Butler, who became the first-ever Gator coach to guide the program to a postseason appearance in each of their first three years.

 

Butler guided Florida to the third round of the 2008 WNIT in her first year with the club, before taking her second Gator squad into the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament where the team lost to top-ranked and eventual NCAA champion Connecticut.

 

“We are excited to be going to our third postseason tournament in a row,” Butler said. “I’m excited for our fans and that we’ll get another opportunity to play in front of them at home. South Florida poses a great challenge and this should be a great SEC-Big East battle.”

 

Florida will be appearing in the WNIT for the fourth time since the event’s inception in 1998. The Gators reached the final in 2000, falling to Wisconsin, 75-74, in the title game. In 2005 Florida dropped a tough first-round contest to USF, 61-56, in Tampa.

 

The Gators also made an appearance in 1985 in the NWIT, which is no longer contested, reaching the national final.

 

The Bulls are the defending WNIT champions, defeating Kansas, 75-71, in last year’s title game played in front of 16,113 fans in Lawrence, Kan.

 

The 2010 WNIT field, which expanded to 64 teams this year, includes 31 teams that earned an automatic berth and 33 that received an at-large bid. All games are hosted by a participating school. First round games will be played from March 17-19.

 

The official website of the WNIT is www.womensnit.com.

 

-UF-

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