Tag Archives: WNIT

Tickets for Lady Tops’ WNIT game in Diddle available Tuesday

The WNIT pushed it about as close as they could with their “late Monday night” guarantee, but we can now begin to take a closer look at what the 2010 tournament field has in store.

As we said before, the Lady Toppers will meet Illinois on Friday in Diddle Arena.  According to Western media relations, game time is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. but will be officially announced Tuesday.

Western hasn’t played the Fighting Illini since the 2001-2002 season, when the Lady Toppers lost 91-84 in the first round of the WNIT at Illinois.

Illinois began its season 11-4 but has lost 10 of its last 15 games. The Illini are led by 6-3 senior center Jenna Smith, who averages 18.1 points and 11.3 points per game.

Freshman forward Karisma Penn (10.6 ppg) and senior forward Lacey Simpson (9.7 ppg) are also viable scoring threats.

According to media relations, tickets will become available at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, both in person at the WKU Ticket Office and by phone at 1-800-5 BIG RED. Season ticket holders have until noon Friday to secure their same season seats, and other tickets will be available for $6-13.

Students can purchase tickets for $5.

If Western beats Illinois, the Lady Toppers will meet the winner of Marquette/Eastern Illinois sometime between March 20-23.

Western could be in the running to host that game.  If Eastern Illinois wins, the Lady Toppers should get to host as the Panthers drew just over 700 fans for a home game in the Ohio Valley Championship on March 2.

Marquette could give Western a run for its money in the hosting race, averaging 1,565 fans per home game. The Lady Toppers average 1,418 fans at home.

-Zach Greenwell

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Lady Tops will host Illinois in first round of WNIT

The WNIT selection committee added some suspense with a long delay before releasing its bracket, but the 2010 field was just posted on the tournament’s Web site.

The Lady Toppers (21-10) will host Illinois on Friday in the first round. The Fighting Illini (16-14) lost to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on March 5.

The full bracket is available here.

More in a little bit.

-Zach Greenwell

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Lady Toppers get automatic bid to WNIT

Well, that’s why they call it March Madness.

Arkansas-Little Rock ends up getting an unexpected at-large bid to the women’s NCAA Tournament, which means that the Lady Toppers (21-10) will receive an automatic berth to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

UALR (26-6) received an 11-seed and will meet sixth-seeded Georgia Tech in the Kansas City region. The Trojans were projected as one of the “next four out” on ESPN.com on Sunday.

As I wrote this morning, the WNIT field will be released later tonight on the tournament’s Web site. I’ll be back later with more on Western’s trip to the WNIT after the bracket is released.

-Zach Greenwell

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Lady Tops’ WNIT fate revealed tonight

The Lady Toppers will watch the women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament selection show intently tonight, but not for their own dreams of going dancing.

They’ll be watching to see whether or not Arkansas-Little Rock is chosen. If the Trojans (26-6) make the tournament, Western would gain an automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament as the next-highest finisher in the Sun Belt Conference.

That seems unlikely, though, as ESPN’s women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme had UALR as one of his “next four out” of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

If UALR is snubbed by the NCAA selection committee, the Trojans will earn the Sun Belt’s automatic bid to the WNIT. Then Western’s fate comes down to whether the WNIT selects more than one team from a pretty weak Sun Belt Conference.

But many things seem to be in the Lady Toppers’ favor for an at-large bid, including that their RPI was 82 as of Sunday, according to RealTimeRPI.com.

The NCAA Tournament field will be revealed at 6 p.m. CT tonight on ESPN. The WNIT will release its bracket after on its Web site.

I’ll be back tonight with an update on Western’s WNIT status, including whether or not they will be able to host a first-round game in the tournament.

-Zach Greenwell

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Lady Tops WNIT update, and how good is Alysha Clark?

Middle Tennessee just held on to beat Arkansas-Little Rock 70-68 in overtime in the women’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament final, and it’s time to take a look at how this shakes out for Western.

I can only assume the Lady Toppers would have preferred that this game go the other way.

Had UALR secured an NCAA Tournament berth, Middle Tennessee would have been hard to leave out of the Big Dance at 24-6 with an RPI of 23. With both of those teams in, No. 3 Western would have received an automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament as the highest Sun Belt team not headed to the NCAA tourney.

But with Middle Tennessee winning the Sun Belt, things become a little murky. Sure, UALR boasted a 21-game win streak heading into Tuesday’s final. But the Trojans’ RPI of 51 isn’t doing them any favors, especially coming from a weaker mid-major conference.

The bottom line is that the Lady Toppers will now have to wait to see UALR’s fate before they know theirs. Although, Western could still very well pick up an at-large bid to the WNIT with a 21-10 record.

We’ll just have to wait until both fields are announced on Monday night. For more on Western’s WNIT chances, click here.

  • One more observation from the Sun Belt final, and it’s an obvious one – how good is MTSU senior forward Alysha Clark?

Clark broke her own Sun Belt Tournament single-game scoring record Tuesday with 48 points, including the game-winning basket with three seconds left in overtime.

In fact, Clark broke the single-game scoring record in each of MTSU’s three games in the tournament. She averaged 44 points and 14.7 rebounds over that span.

According to ESPN.com, Clark was tied for first in the nation in scoring at 26.9 points per game on Feb. 28th, but it would seem that her Sun Belt tourney performance had to vault her into sole possession of first place.

Clark is a likely first-round pick in April’s WNBA Draft. DraftSite.com projects her going fourth overall to Chicago.

For those interested, ESPN.com’s Graham Hays wrote a good article a few weeks back in 2009 on Clark’s journey from Belmont to Middle Tennessee to one of the best players in the nation.

UPDATE (10:54 p.m.) – Thank you to the reader who pointed out to me that my date on Graham Hays’ article was incorrect. For a more up-to-date look at Clark, check out The Tennesseean’s profile on the MTSU senior from this past Sunday.

-Zach Greenwell

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