The Stony Brook women’s basketball team will face the VCU Rams in the opening round of the WNIT on Friday, Mar. 18 at 6 p.m.
VCU finished 15-11 and fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 9-5 record, bowing out in the tournament semifinals with a 59-48 loss to top-seeded Dayton. The Rams’ NET ranking as of Monday, Mar. 14 is 93rd, whereas Stony Brook (23-5) is ranked 114th.
Adding a layer to the contest, VCU’s head coach Beth O’Boyle was the former head coach at Stony Brook for three seasons from 2011 to 2014 before resigning to accept the Rams job.
O’Boyle led Stony Brook to a WNIT appearance in 2014, a month prior to her departure. The 2021-22 season marks the Seawolves’ third WNIT bid in program history.
If Stony Brook wins, the Seawolves will advance to face the winner of the Seton Hall-Fairleigh Dickinson game.
On Sunday night, the list of schools that qualified for the tournament was announced. The full bracket featuring all matchups was publicized on Monday afternoon. Unlike its 32-team men’s counterpart, the WNIT features 64 schools.
Each conference owns an automatic bid to the WNIT, which is given to the team with the best record that did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Maine, the regular season champions by one game, held the automatic bid but would have given it to Stony Brook, the second-place team, had the Black Bears won the America East tournament.
Had the Seawolves clinched the America East regular season title by winning either of their last two regular season games, they could have also earned the automatic bid.
However, Albany upset Maine 56-47 in the title game, locking the Black Bears in as the automatic qualifier and requiring Stony Brook to receive an at-large bid, which the Seawolves earned.
Stony Brook previously competed in the WNIT in 2006 and 2014. In 2006, the Seawolves were 20-9, finishing in second place in the America East with a 12-4 conference record, before losing to Hofstra 92-65. In 2014, Stony Brook was 24-8 and finished in second with a 13-3 conference record, losing 86-48 to Michigan.
This year’s Seawolves team seeks to be the first in program history to win a game in the WNIT.