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March 15, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Boston College and Virginia received bids Monday evening to participate in the 2011 Women's National Invitation Tournament, extending the number of Atlantic Coast Conference postseason teams to eight. For the ninth straight year, the ACC will be represented by at least six teams in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Field of 64, while the addition of two programs to the WNIT gives the league eight postseason teams for the eighth time overall, seventh consecutive, and eighth time in the last 12 years.
Boston College serves as the ACC's automatic qualifier to this year's WNIT Tournament, marking the third time in four seasons the Eagles have played in the WNIT postseason tournament. Boston College will take on Yale, the Ivy League's automatic qualifier, at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in first round action on Thursday, March 17. The contest, taking place in New Haven, Conn., will tip-off at 7 p.m., while the winner will advance to play the winner of the St. Joe's-Virginia Commonwealth game.
The Eagles own a 4-2 record in the WNIT Tournament after advancing to the third round of the WNIT in 2008 and making a 3-1 run to the 2009 WNIT Final Four. Boston College fell to South Florida, 82-65, in the 2009 WNIT Semifinals.
Virginia will make its 29th overall postseason appearance and fourth WNIT appearance. The Cavaliers advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007, and this year will play host to Morgan State in opening round action on Thursday, March 17, at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers earned an at-large berth to the 64-team postseason tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Following Thursday's Virginia vs. Morgan State contest, UVa's John Paul Jones Arena will then serve as one of 16 sites for the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and will host two games on Sunday, March 20 (noon and 2:30 p.m.) and one contest on Tuesday, March 22 (7 p.m.).
Virginia's postseason berth comes just two days after Craig Littlepage, University of Virginia Director of Athletics, announced that Debbie Ryan has decided to step down as women's head basketball coach effective at the end of the 2010-11 season. Ryan, a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, has been the head coach of the Virginia women's basketball team for 34 years, all but four years of the program's existence. She also served as an assistant coach in the program for two years before becoming head coach. Ryan's teams have compiled an overall record of 736-323, and won 20 or more games 23 times and 30 or more twice. The Cavaliers participated in the NCAA Tournament 24 times under her direction and made three consecutive Final Four appearances from 1990-92.
This is the second year of the expanded postseason WNIT as the 2011 field includes 31 teams that earned automatic berths and 33 teams that earned at-large berths. The 2011 WNIT kicks off postseason action Wednesday, March 16, with first-round games. All games will be held on the campuses of participating schools, while the WNIT championship game will be played Saturday, April 2, and will be hosted by one of the two final participating schools.
The WNIT awards an automatic qualifying berth to each of the nation's 31 conferences. The spot goes to the team that finishes the highest in the regular-season conference standings and does not advance to the NCAA Tournament. If there is a tie, the WNIT abides by the conference tiebreaker. A team earns the automatic qualifying berth regardless of its overall record. However, to be considered for a WNIT at-large berth, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better.
For more information, visit www.theACC.com or www.womensnit.com. The WNIT is operated by Triple Crown Sports, a nation-wide grassroots sports event marketing company based in Fort Collins, Colo..