MAC Regular-Season Champion Toledo to host Butler in WNIT Thursday

March 19, 2013 | Events, News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis

Toledo has received an invite to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) for a fourth consecutive season. The Rockets earned the automatic bid to the postseason event after capturing the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship for the second time in the last three seasons.

thumb-rocket-color-logoUT’s four straight postseason appearances is tied for the second longest stretch in school history, surpassed only by six consecutive appearances (four NCAA and two WNIT) during the 1993 to 1999 seasons.

The 2011 WNIT Champion Rockets will serve as one of five MAC representatives (Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green and Miami) and host Atlantic 10 member Butler (17-13) in a first-round contest Thursday, March 21, in Savage Arena at 7 p.m.

The winner of Thursday’s game will take on the winner of the Youngstown State vs. Indiana State contest Saturday-Monday, March 23-25. Sites and times for the second round will be released at a later date.

This year’s tourney will again feature 64 teams with all games taking place at home sites. The field includes 31 teams that earned an automatic berth and 33 teams that are chosen at-large. The five representatives from the MAC are tied for the most of any conference in the WNIT, along with the Atlantic 10 and Conference USA.

Last season, the Rockets advanced to the Elite Eight of the postseason tourney with home victories against Horizon League member Detroit, 59-49 (March 16), Big East foe Cincinnati, 72-51 (March 19) and Colonial Athletic Association member VCU, 81-64 (March 22). Their season came to an end with a 74-73 overtime setback to Big East foe Syracuse (March 24).

The Midnight Blue and Gold enter the postseason with a stellar 27-3 overall record and a 15-1 league ledger.

This past weekend at the MAC Tournament in Cleveland, top seed Toledo suffered a heartbreaking 66-61 setback to No. 4 seed and eventual tourney champion Central Michigan in the semifinals March 15.

The Bulldogs, who finished with an 8-6 mark in the A-10, feature an offense led by junior Daress McClung’s 16.3 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game and 2.4 blocks per game.

Tickets for Thursday’s first-round matchup will be $15 for reserved seats (all seats in the lower bowl) and $12 for general admission (all seats in the upper east sections). Tickets for UT students are free, courtesy of the Office of the President.

Tickets will go on sale for Rocket Fund donors and season ticket holders only Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m. and can be purchased at the UT Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 419-530-GOLD (4653).

Reserved and general admission tickets for the general public will go on sale Wednesday at 9 a.m. UT students can get their free tickets then as well; one UT student ID, one ticket.

However, general admission tickets may be purchased online by anyone at beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Elite season-ticket holders’ seat locations will be held until 3 p.m. game day. After that, those seats will go on sale to the general public.

Parking for all WNIT games at Savage Arena is free and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, the Joe Grogan Room will be open to Rocket Fund donors.

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