BOWLING GREEN — Owning a 27-4 record and the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship, Bowling Green State University had reason to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Whether a loss to Ball State in the semifinals of last week’s MAC tournament was a knockout blow is unknown to most, but without the automatic bid that comes with conference tournament title, the Falcons were left out when NCAA bids were announced Monday night.
Bowling Green, however, still has a chance to make some noise in women’s basketball world. With the MAC’s regular-season title came an automatic spot in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, and the Falcons will host High Point (N.C.) University in a first-round game Thursday at the Stroh Center.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The winner will advance to meet the winner of Friday’s Charlotte at St. Bonaventure game. Second-round contests will be played sometime between Saturday and next Tuesday.
“We are looking forward to having another opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Stroh Center,” BGSU coach Jennifer Roos said. “We are fortunate to still be playing in a national postseason tournament, and we are excited about Thursday’s game.”
Bowling Green is appearing in the postseason for the 10th consecutive year, with this year making its third straight in the WNIT. Home games in the WNIT have been common for the Falcons, who reached the round of 16 in last year’s tournament while playing three games at the Stroh Center. Bowling Green’s last home game of the season was a loss to eventual-champion Drexel.
This year’s BGSU squad is 13-0 at home and has been guided by 6-foot-1 senior Alexis Rogers (14.7 points, 8.3 rebounds per game), 5-6 senior Jillian Halfhill (13.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists) and 5-11 sophomore Erica Donovan (10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds).
High Point followed a similar path as Bowling Green to the WNIT. The Panthers (22-10 overall) won the Big South regular-season championship but lost to Winthrop in the conference tournament’s title game.
High Point’s victory total is the highest for the program in a Division I season. DeUnna Hendrix was named the Big South Coach of the Year and 5-foot-5 Kaylah Keys, who averages a team-high 17.8 points per game, was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year.
Other top players for the Panthers are 5-5 senior Taylor Tremblay (13.4 points) and 6-2 junior Stacia Robertson (12.6 points. 8.7 rebounds).
Anderson Club tickets for the game are priced at $22, while reserved-chair seats are $13 and student tickets are $5. All women’s basketball season parking passes will be valid for any WNIT game that Bowling Green hosts.
Tickets are available by calling BGSU’s athletics ticket office at 877-BGSU-TICKET, by visiting the ticket office at the Stroh Center or by purchasing through Ticketmaster.
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