The Ohio University women’s basketball team will have a postseason after all, and the Bobcats have accepted an invitation into the 2021 Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Ohio (14-8) saw its quest for a Mid-American Conference tournament championship, and the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament that goes with it, fall by the wayside in a 100-92 overtime loss on Friday to eventual tourney champion Central Michigan.
While CMU secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, as 12-seed with a first-round matchup with No. 5 Iowa, both Ohio and MAC regular-season champion Bowling Green received bids into the 32-team (this season at least) WNIT field.
Ohio’s last postseason appearance also came in the WNIT, in 2019. There were no postseason events in the country in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, Ohio posted three wins in a postseason tournament for the first time in program history by notching wins over High Point (81-74), Middle Tennessee (59-57) and Western Kentucky (68=60) — all on its home floor in the Convocation Center. The Bobcats were eliminated the quarterfinals (final 8) round with a 61-58 loss at Northwestern.
Ohio will be guaranteed at least two games in the WNIT this season. OU was placed in the Charlotte region of the tournament, and all games in the region will be held in Bojangles Coliseum.
Ohio will face Clemson (11-13) in the first round on Friday, March 19 at 2 p.m. A loss would put OU into a consolation game against either Fordham (12-4) or Delaware (21-4) on Saturday at 11 a.m. With a win, Ohio would face the Fordham-Delaware winner on Saturday at 5 p.m.
With one win in the first two games, Ohio would then pick up a third game. If undefeated at that point, Ohio would play in the region’s championship final at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 22 for a spot in the WNIT’s final four – to be held in Memphis. The Consolation Final for the region is set for 4 p.m. on Monday.
All games in the WNIT will be available via streaming through FloHoops.
This year’s event will start with eight teams each at four regional sites — Charlotte, NC; Fort Worth, TX; Memphis, TN; and Rockford, IL. First-round play begins Friday, March 19; Round 2 is March 20, and Round 3 is March 22. The four regional champions will advance to the Memphis site, with the semifinals tipping off March 26 and the championship game set for March 28.
All times ET (In bracket order; designated home team listed second)
Round 1 – Friday, March 19
Game 1: Fordham (12-4) vs. Delaware (21-4), 11 a.m.
Game 2: Ohio (14-8) vs. Clemson (11-13), 2 p.m.
Game 3: Charlotte (10-10) vs. Florida (11-13), 5 p.m.
Game 4: UMass (14-7) vs. Villanova (15-6), 8 p.m.