Women's Basketball Accepts Women's Basketball Invitational Bid
March 16, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team is returning to the post season. The Tigers have accepted a bid in to the Inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational and will host UMKC in the opening round, Thursday, Mar. 18th at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.
"We are obviously excited to be back in post season play," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We've set the goal from the start to get this program back to where we are going to the post season and having a chance to win and advance, and for us to be at that point already in just our second year is exciting for both our staff and our team."
The WBI is a 16-team, single elimination tournament that was created this season to address additional post-season opportunities for women's college teams who did not make the NCAA tournament field.
"We felt like we would be a high enough seed in the WBI format to warrant some home games," McFerrin said. "We love the opportunity to come home and play some post season women's basketball in front of our fans."
The WBI tournament format is in an East/West format with each side seeded 1 through 8. Memphis will be the No. 1 seed in the West and if the Tigers can get past UMKC Thursday night, would face the winner of the Akron/Wichita State game on Saturday or Sunday. Appalachian State is the No. 1 seed in the East and faces Charleston Southern, Thursday, at 7 p.m. As the No. 1 seed in the West, Memphis will continue to play home games as long as the Tigers keep winning. There are four rounds to the Inaugural WBI. The remainder of the West seeds are (in seed order) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, University of Washington, Wichita State, Akron, Portland, Cal State-Bakersfield and UMKC. On the East, the seeds are (in order) Appalachian State, College of Charleston, Louisville, Towson, Fairfield, Bradley, Morehead State and Charleston Southern.
"Any time you can still be playing basketball in mid to late March, you know your team is making significant strides," McFerrin said. "The next step in the development of this program is to learn what it takes to play and win in March. The reason these student-athletes came to Memphis was to learn what it takes to be successful in March, and this is a great opportunity for us to start to teach them that."
This will mark Memphis' first post-season bid since the 2003-04 season, when the Tigers advanced to the second round of the WNIT via a win over Tulsa (a year before the Golden Hurricane joined C-USA), also at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
The Tigers finished the regular season with a 17-12 record, the most Memphis victories since the 2003-04 season, a C-USA first round bye and the Tigers' first C-USA quarterfinals appearance since 2004-05. Memphis is 10-5 in home games this season, but that total includes four regular season games played at FedExForum. The Tigers were 9-2 in games played in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse this year, and have won eight straight games in the friendly confines of the on-campus arena coming in to Thursday's match-up.
UMKC capped the regular season with a 16-15 record and a loss to WNIT bound Oral Roberts in the semifinals of The Summit League tournament. The Kangaroos feature a young roster that features just one senior, Chazny Morris, two juniors, seven sophomores and two freshmen. The Kangaroos should be familiar to one member of the Tiger coaching staff, as assistant coach Brett Schneider was an associate head coach to second year head coach Candace Whitaker last season.
Tickets for the WBI First Round game go on sale later this week through the University of Memphis Ticket Office at 901-678-2331. Reserved chairback seating is just $7 and general admission bleacher seating is $5.00. Parking in the garage attached to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse will also be available for just $5.00. Please check www.gotigersgo.com to know when tickets are available for Thursday night's game.
"It would be great to show another new opponent what Memphis basketball is all about, and we hope our fans will come out in force to help us show our opponents what a basketball city Memphis is," McFerrin said. "We will have a short period of time to prepare for UMKC, so we will need our fans to be ready to cheer us on."