RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University learned late Monday night that it will have at least one more game on its schedule during the 2011-12 campaign as the Rams received an at-large berth into the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament.
VCU travels to Bowling Green, Ohio to face Bowling Green State University on Thursday for the first time in program history. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Should VCU advance to the second round, it would face the winner of St. Joseph's/Boston University March 17-19.
"We're very excited to have at least one more game on our schedule," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham. "We obviously didn't finish the CAA Tournament the way we would have liked, but I'm certainly happy for our team to have reached the postseason once again. It's a great opportunity for our kids to continue playing this year."
VCU (17-14) is making its fifth straight postseason appearance. Last year, the Rams fell to St. Joseph's in the first round of the WNIT after defeating the Hawks in 2009-10, on their way to a third round finish. VCU received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, and advanced to the second round of the Postseason WNIT in 2007-08. This year marks the only time in school history back-to-back senior classes will have appeared in the postseason all four years.
BGSU, which compiled an impressive 24-5 regular season record, including a 14-2 mark in Mid-American Conference play, won its seventh regular season title in the last eight years. The Falcons earned a triple bye in the MAC Tournament before being upset by Central Michigan in the semifinals, 69-66. Head Coach Curt Miller was named MAC Coach of the Year for a league-record sixth time, while redshirt sophomore Alexis Rogers (12.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) was named to the All-MAC First Team, senior Jessica Slagle (11.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and junior Chrissy Steffen (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) each received second team recognition, and Jasmine Matthews (6.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg) was chosen to the MAC's All-Freshman squad. After a 13-game winning streak from Dec. 21-Feb. 4, BGSU is 4-3 in its last seven contests entering postseason play.
Senior forward Courtney Hurt, a two-time First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honoree and All-America candidate, continues to be a force on the national scene for VCU, while rewriting the school's record books. Hurt, the Rams' all-time leading scorer and rebounder, recently became the first men's or women's player in school history, and just the sixth player in league history, to score 2,000 career points. She currently leads the nation in rebounding (12.7 rpg), while ranking ninth in scoring (22.0 ppg) and third in double-doubles (20). Meanwhile, classmate Andrea Barbour, who garnered second team all-conference accolades for the second straight year, is contributing 16.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, while leading the Rams with 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals per outing.
A total of five CAA teams will participate in the Postseason WNIT for the second year in a row, while eighth-ranked Delaware is the league's lone representative in the NCAA Tournament.