Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler will begin its run in the 2009 Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) when it takes on host Duquesne on Thursday (March 19) in Pittsburgh, Pa. The tournament selection committee made the announcement on Monday (March 16) evening.
The Bulldogs, who boast a 19-11 overall record heading into this week's tournament, will take on a Dukes team that enters the WNIT with a 20-11 overall mark. Duquesne finished fifth in the Atlantic-10 standings with a 9-5 record before falling to Charlotte in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
"We're really excited to be a part of the WNIT and have the opportunity to play a very strong Duquesne team from a tough Atlantic-10 Conference," head coach Beth Couture said. "When you get into post-season play, the level of talent and urgency increases significantly, so I'm looking forward to see how our players respond to this challenge."
Butler wrapped up the league season in second place with a 14-4 conference record, trailing only league regular season champ Green Bay (18-0), which earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Milwaukee in the Speedway Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship on Sunday (March 15) afternoon.
Butler's appearance in post-season play is the program's first since the 1997-98 squad earned a berth in the WNIT.
The WNIT awards an automatic berth to each of the nation's 31 conferences. The spot goes to the team that finishes the highest in the regular-season conference standings that does not advance to the NCAA Tournament and has an overall record of .500 or better.
The winner of Thursday's games will head to Milwaukee, Wis., where it will take on Marquette in the second round. The date and time is still to be determined.
Following the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, the
championship game will take place on April 4 beginning at 2:00 p.m.