The Women’s National Invitation Tournament field will be released after 11 p.m. Monday, following the announcement of the NCAA tournament in the 7 p.m. hour. All games will be held on campus sites. First-round games will be played Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, with second-round games on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
The WNIT has utilized four regional brackets, with recent history placing schools from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic into one bracket. West Point is unlikely to host a game for a fee, especially in the days of national sequestration in federal budgets.
Here is a list of potential WNIT teams for the local region, listed in order of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Since Army may be the lowest-rated team in the region (hurt by a very weak strength of schedule), the Black Knights should be headed to one of the higher seeds:
Boston University – The Terriers (23-5) have an RPI of 55, but with 14 NCAA automatic qualifiers sporting RPIs below 64, the unofficial line for at-large bids would be drawn at 50. America East has been a one-bid league in three of the past four seasons so B.U. is headed to the WNIT as the league’s automatic qualifier. B.U. won seven of its last eight and 20 of its last 22. The Terriers beat No. 17 St. John’s at home and Marist on the road. Chantell Alford was the AE co-player of the year, averaging 16.6 points and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. John Jay-East Fishkill grad Mo Moran is also a first-team AE al-star. This matchup is intriguing because Boston University is leaving America East and joining Army in the Patriot League next season.
Fordham – The Rams (24-8) have an RPI of 64, finishing third in the Atlantic 10 at 12-2. Fordham lost to St. Joe’s, 47-46, in the A-10 final on Saturday, snapping an eight-game win streak. Fordham beat America East champ Albany in the season opener. The A-10 drew three NCAA bids from 2009-11 but only two last year so the Rams are on the bubble. Erin Rooney was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 and Mariah Strickland was second team. Samantha Clark made the all-rookie team.
James Madison – The Dukes (22-10) finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association, a one-bid NCAA league the past three years. JMU lost to Drexel, 50-34, in the Colonial semifinals on Saturday. The Dukes are 15-3 since Jan. 13, with two losses to top-20 Delaware, including a 61-60 road setback on Feb. 24. JMU also lost to mid-major power Green Bay, 89-86 in overtime, on Nov. 22. Precious Hall was the Colonial rookie of the year. Junior guard Kirby Burkholder and Tarik Hislop were named first-team all-stars.
Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights (16-14) finished 7-9 and a disappointing ninth in the Big East. Rutgers lost to South Florida, 42-39, in a second-round Big East game, capping a run of six losses in its last eight. Rutgers was 1-5 against ranked competition. There is speculation Rutgers may decline any bid outside the NCAA.
Drexel – The Dragons (21-10) lost their NCAA bid by losing to No. 15 Delaware, 59-56, in Sunday’s Colonial championship. The Colonial has put five teams into the WNIT in each of the past three seasons so the Dragons have a home. Senior guard Hollie Mershon was a first-team all-star and senior forward Taylor Wootton was third team.
Harvard – The Crimson (21-8) finished two games behind Ivy champ Princeton, even with a 58-55 win over the Tigers on March 1. Harvard has won its last seven games. In December, the Crimson lost by seven at Boston University and were crushed by No. 14 Oklahoma State. Temi Fagbenie, a sophomore, was named the Ivy League rookie of the year. Junior guard Christine Clark and senior forward Victoria Lippert were named first-team and Fagbenie was second team.
Hartford – The Hawks (21-11) placed third in America East. Hartford crushed Vermont, 64-33, in the AE semifinals but lost at top-seed Albany, 61-52, in Saturday’s championship, snapping a four-game win streak. Hartford topped Marist in November but lost to No. 18 St. John’s and got crushed by No. 2 Connecticut and No. 9 Maryland. Forward Nikkia Smith and Amber Bepko are second-team America East all-stars.
Howard – The Bison (20-11) lost its NCAA bid, falling to Hampton, 59-38, in the Mid-Eastern championship on Saturday. Howard has won eight of its last 10. The Bison lost to No. 8 Penn State in the midst of an 0-4 start. Tamoria Holmes and Saadia Doyle were named MEAC first-team all-stars.
St. Francis, Pa. – The Red Flash (17-14) are not a lock for the WNIT – the Northeast Conference has been a one-bid NCAA and WNIT league for four years running, and No. 2 seed Sacred Heart may be a stronger candidate. No. 4 seeded St. Francis lost to Quinnipiac, 72-33, in the Northeast finals on Sunday. Junior forward Alli Williams was named All-NEC first team.
Sacred Heart – The Pioneers (22-10) finished second in the Northeast Conference but lost to St. Francis (Pa.), 83-67, in the NEC semifinals on Wednesday. Sacred Heart had beaten St. Francis twice previously. The Pioneers have won 13 of their last 15 games. Sophomore guard Gabrielle Washington was second-team All-NEC and senior guard Kiley Evans was third team.
Richmond – The Spiders (16-15) are certainly on the WNIT bubble, and justifying a ninth-place Colonial team might be hard to do. Richmond is 6-9 since Jan. 12. The Spiders dropped a 69-63 decision to No. 23 Miami in November and lost big to Green Bay.
Iona – The Gaels (20-12) are a WNIT automatic qualifier, finishing second in the regular-season and Metro Atlantic tournament to Marist. Iona had won nine games in a row before the loss to Marist. Sophomore guard Damika Martinez was named the MAAC player of the year and Joy Adams, a second-teamer, was the rookie of the year.
American – The Eagles (15-14) are a tough sell since the Patriot League has been a one-bid NCAA and WNIT league for four years. American dropped five of its last seven, including a 46-43 quarterfinal loss to Bucknell. American lost by 40 at No. 10 Maryland in November.
Old Dominion – The Lady Monarchs (19-11) placed fourth in the Colonial at 10-8. ODU dropped its last two outings and five of the last eight. ODU lost twice to NCAA-bound Delaware, and also to No. 10 California and No. 22 Texas A&M. Sophomore forward Shae Kelley was named second-team All-Colonial and senior guard Jackie Cook was third team.
Elon – The Phoenix (18-13) placed third in the Southern Conference, and lost to Davidson, 71-61, in the semifinals, snapping a four-game winning streak.
North Carolina A&T – The Aggies (22-9) finished second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, earning the WNIT automatic bid. NC A&T lost to Howard, 55-42, in the MEAC semifinals on Friday, slowing a run that saw the Aggies win 13 of their previous 14 games. The Aggies beat Iona and lost to Richmond in November.
High Point – The Panthers (17-13) tied for fourth in the Big South Conference, losing to Campbell, 74-73, in the quarterfinals. High Point lost four of its last six. The Panthers were pounded at No. 6 Kentucky in November.