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ETSU women head to JMU for WNIT Opener

ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell (WCYB)

On Monday night, the ETSU women’s basketball team was officially named one of the 32 automatic qualifiers for the 2018 Women’s National Invitational Postseason Tournament (WNIT). The Bucs will travel to Harrisonburg, Va. to take on the James Madison Dukes. The game is set for Thursday, March 15 with a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.

James Madison earned an at-large bid finishing 21-10 in the Colonial conference. They are the fourth winningest women’s basketball program in NCAA history. JMU is 15-7 all-time in the WNIT with a 13-2 finish at home.

This will be the 14th time ETSU and JMU will meet in program history. The Dukes edge the Bucs with a 7-6 all-time win record and have won the last four contests against the Bucs.

This selection marks the Bucs’ first appearance in a non-league postseason tournament since 2014-15, when ETSU hosted their first-ever postseason WNIT welcoming NC State to Brooks Gym. The Bucs hold a 1-4 all-time record in the WNIT with appearances also coming in the 2006-07 season and the 1994-95 season.

ETSU compiled a 20-12 overall record and second in the Southern Conference to Mercer in both the regular season and postseason conference championship. The Bucs were offered an automatic berth in the postseason by the WNIT for being the highest-finishing team in its conference’s regular season standings that was not selected for this year’s NCAA Tournament. In total, there are 32 automatic bids for the WNIT and 32 at-large selections.

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Here's the release from the WNIT with all of the opening round matchups:

Tournament officials for the 2018 Women’s National Invitation Tournament have announced matchups and locations for the opening round of games, slated for March 14-16.

Round 2 games take place March 17-20; Round 3 games are March 21-23, Round 4 runs March 24-26, and the semifinals are March 28-29. The championship game will be held at 3 p.m. ET on March 31, and televised on CBS Sports Network. All games are hosted by participating schools.

After the 64-team field was announced earlier on Monday, Rutgers (which had accepted an at-large berth) contacted the WNIT Selection Committee and withdrew from the event. The Selection Committee offered that berth to Stephen F. Austin (25-6, Southland), which accepted to complete the 64-team field.

Game times will be announced by WNIT officials on Tuesday, March 13. Here are the first-round pairings; for more information, visit www.womensnit.com

ROUND ONE

?Wednesday, March 14:

Southern at Alabama

Jacksonville at UCF

St. Joseph’s at Seton Hall

Thursday, March 15:

Houston at South Dakota

Western Illinois at Colorado State

Cincinnati at Michigan State

Saint Mary’s at New Mexico

Texas State at Rice

Lamar at TCU

Missouri State at Louisiana Tech

Purdue at IUPUI

Middle Tennessee at Ball State

UT Martin at Indiana

Milwaukee at Northern Iowa

New Mexico State at Wyoming

Idaho at UC Davis

Saint Louis at Kansas State

UNLV at Utah

Bucknell at West Virginia

Radford at Penn State

ETSU at JMU

Marist at St. John’s

Duquesne at Miami (OH)

Bethune-Cookman at Georgia Tech

Chattanooga at UAB

Friday, March 16:

Wright State at Toledo

Albany at Penn

Delaware at Georgetown

Harvard at Fordham

Robert Morris at Drexel

Stephen F. Austin at George Mason

Navy at Virginia Tech

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