KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The UMKC women's basketball program will travel to University of the Pacific (Calif.) on Nov. 8 in the first round of the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), announced by tournament officials Thursday. Coming off a stellar 2018-19 season, the Roos take on the West Coast Conference members for the first time in school history in Stockton, Calif., at 7 p.m. PT/9 p.m. CT. The WNIT participation is a first in the history of Roo women's basketball and the event features a three-game guarantee for all teams.
With a win Nov. 8, UMKC would play the winner of Oregon State and UC Irvine on either Nov. 10-11. The semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 14 with the championship on Nov. 17. The 16-team Preseason WNIT will be played at on-campus locations. The tournament championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
"We feel it is a great honor and unbelievable opportunity to get to play in such a competitive tournament that will battle-test us so early in our season," said head coach Jacie Hoyt. "To be selected in the Preseason WNIT is a testament to the hard work and buy-in from our players in such a short amount of time being at UMKC. The format of the tournament will certainly help prepare us for our conference tournament in March, and we are excited to face off against some of the west coast’s best teams to kick-off the tournament."
Looking at the scouting report, the Tigers were 19-13 last season under head coach Bradley Davis, which is a turnaround of four more wins than 2017-18. Pacific competed in the postseason WNIT last year winning in the first round, eventually losing to champions, Arizona, in the second round. Pacific returns all but one starter next season including Valerie Higgins, who led the league in double-doubles and steals and ranked second in scoring. The preseason WNIT is the second such trip for the Tigers, with the previous one coming in 2001 when they lost in the opening round.
The 26th annual Preseason WNIT field includes Boise State, Davidson, DePaul, Drexel, Miami (Ohio), Missouri State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pacific, Portland State, Prairie View A&M, South Alabama, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UAB, UC Irvine and UMKC. All told, 12 of the 16 teams reached the postseason in 2018-19.
The Roos return nine players, including three starters, after finishing the 2018-19 season with a 16-15 overall record and the most wins since the 2011-12 campaign. UMKC earned its highest seed in the WAC tournament (No. 4) and was one victory away from appearing in the WAC title game. As a team, the Roos ranked No. 25 in the NCAA in scoring (76.0), due in large part to All-WAC Newcomer Ericka Mattingly. The senior-to-be became the first player in conference history to lead the league in points, assists and steals.
The remainder of the 2019-20 schedule will be announced this Summer.