Virginia selected to WNIT: Plays at VCU on Thursday

virginia basketballThe Virginia women’s basketball team (16-15, 6-10 ACC) earned an at-large bid to the 2016 Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament and will play its first round game at Virginia Commonwealth (23-8, 10-6 A-10) on Thursday, March 17 in Richmond, Va. The game time will be announced on Tuesday.

The 2016 WNIT will feature 64 schools, 32 with automatic bids and 32 at-large teams, in a single-elimination championship format. The Postseason WNIT will open with first-round games Wednesday throughFriday, March 16-18. The event culminates Saturday, April 2 with the championship game.

Exact game dates, locations and times for subsequent-round games will be announced as the tournament progresses.

This is Virginia’s sixth trip to the WNIT, having reached the quarterfinals in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012. Last season, Virginia was eliminated in the first round after suffering a 60-55 loss at Old Dominion. Head coach Joanne Boyle won the WNIT championship in 2010 while coaching at California.

The Postseason WNIT, now in its 19th year, began in 1998 with 16 teams playing for a postseason crown and has since expanded four times. Following the inaugural year, the field doubled to 32 teams and remained there until 2006 when the WNIT expanded to a 40-team field to give berths to teams that won their regular-season conference title but did not win their conference tournament and therefore were excluded from the NCAA Tournament. The WNIT furthered that commitment to conference schools again in 2007, when the event expanded to 48 teams and awarded an automatic berth to each conference. The number of at-large berths remained at 17 until 2010, when the WNIT felt that the level of women’s basketball warranted a 64-team field. Since then, the WNIT fulfills berths for 32 automatic teams and 32 teams selected at-large.