Following an appearance in the Mid-American Conference championship, the NIU women’s basketball team was selected to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Monday night to clinch its first postseason berth since 1995.
The Huskies will take on South Dakota State University (22-8) on Thursday, March 16. Tipoff time will be announced soon. NIU owns a 21-11 record this season, its first 20-win season since 1993-1994.
Northern Illinois University last played the Jackrabbits on Nov. 29, 2014, in the Lady Rebel Roundup in Las Vegas, Nevada. NIU faced the Jacks in Brookings in 2013.
“This is a great day for the program and a great opportunity to play postseason basketball. It really shows a commitment by everyone involved with the program and NIU Athletics,” said head coach Lisa Carlsen. “It’s also a great opportunity for our student-athletes. And if anyone deserves a trip to the postseason, it’s this group of young ladies.”The WNIT first-round games will begin March 15-17; the second round runs March 18-21. Round 3 is slated for March 22-24, followed by round 4 on March 25-27. The WNIT semifinals will be played March 29-30.
The WNIT championship game will begin at 2 p.m. CST April 1 and will air live on CBS Sports Network.
Northern Illinois University made five NCAA tournament appearances in the 1990s (1990, 1992-1995) and one in the National Women’s Invitational Tournament, a precursor to the WNIT, in 1991.
In its lone NWIT appearance, Northern Illinois University finished 1-2 in the pool play format, falling to the University of Houston (83-71) and The University of Alabama at Birmingham (78-71) before bouncing back with a victory over the University of Notre Dame in its tournament finale, 84-82. The 1990-1991 Huskies played a program record of 35 games that season and posted a 25-10 mark, the second-most wins in NIU history.
The Huskies are coming off their best conference tournament performance in more than two decades when it won the 1995 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament to make its last NCAA appearance in program history.
As the No. 4 seed in the MAC tournament, NIU advanced to the final after overcoming a 22-point deficit against Ohio University to defeat the Bobcats 72-71 last Wednesday night. The comeback tied for the largest in NCAA Division I postseason history, matching the feat of Washington against Oregon in the 2013 first-round Pac-12 Tournament.
The pack followed up two days later against No. 8 Western Michigan University, which opened the tournament in Cleveland with an upset over bitter rival and No. 1 seed Central Michigan University, and downed the Broncos 83-55 to advance to its first MAC final since 1982.
After entering the fourth quarter with a one-point lead over the University of Toledo, 49-48, NIU fell to the Rockets 82-71 as UT advanced to its first NCAA tournament since 2001.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, both Ally Lehman and Courtney Woods were named to the Mid-American American Conference’s All-Tournament team as the fourth and fifth players in program history to earn the distinction.
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