The quest for 20 wins continues, as Eastern plays at Washington Friday in first round of WNIT
For the second time in four years under head coach Wendy Schuller, the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team will play in a national postseason tournament.
The Eagles have earned an at-large bid to the 2013 Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Eastern will take on the Washington Huskies Friday (March 22) at 7 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash.
The complete 2013 WNIT bracket is available at www.womensnit.com.
“It means the world to us to have an opportunity to participate in a very prestigious postseason tournament,” said Schuller, who is in her 12th year at the helm of the program. “We are very honored and excited to be given an at-large invitation.”
This will be Eastern’s second time competing in the WNIT, and the third national postseason appearance in history for the program.
EWU earned an automatic bid to the WNIT in 2010 by virtue of its Big Sky regular-season title, in which the team finished 12-4 in league play. Prior to that, the Eagles had not played in a national postseason tournament since 1987, when EWU earned its first and only NCAA Tournament berth after a 77-74 win over Montana in the Mountain West Conference Championship game in Missoula.
In both of those tournaments, the Eagles played Oregon - another team out of the Pac-12 Conference. In the 2010 WNIT, EWU fell to the Ducks in the first-round matchup, 95-66. In 1987, Oregon knocked off EWU, 75-56.
Eastern will enter Friday’s contest against UW with a 19-12 overall record (14-6 Big Sky). Washington comes in with a 20-11 overall mark. The Huskies finished fifth in the Pac-12 race this year with 1n 11-7 league record.
“Washington comes from one of the best conferences in the country, so to play the No. 5 team out of the Pac-12 is really an honor,” said Schuller. “And we are very excited, because we know that if you show up and believe in yourself and believe in each other and give it everything you’ve got, anyone has a chance every time you step on the floor.”
The Eagles and Dawgs have met 22 times throughout history, with UW winning 21 of those contests. The only victory for EWU against the in-state rival came on Feb. 22, 1980, when the Eagles upset UW on its home floor during the regular season, 80-68.
EWU is one of three Big Sky schools to earn a spot in this year’s WNIT. Northern Colorado claimed the automatic bid, as the highest-finishing team from the Big Sky regular-season behind Montana, which was selected to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13-seed after winning the Big Sky tournament title.
Idaho State joined Eastern as the other Big Sky school to earn one of the 35 at-large bids.