Best of CKS – #UNIWBB Extends Season in #WNIT

2016 regular season champions, WNIT automatic qualifiers

2016 regular season champions, WNIT automatic qualifiers

The 2016 Women’s National Invitation Tournament was not the postseason destination the UNI Panther women’s basketball team hoped for, but the Panthers can at least take advantage of this opportunity from the WNIT to play more basketball this season.

After losing to Missouri State Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game, UNI enters the WNIT as the MVC’s automatic qualifier. The Panthers will play their opening contest of the WNIT at the Nebraska Cornhuskers Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This season is already one of the most successful campaigns in Panther history. UNI (22-10) won its second MVC regular season crown and reached its third-ever MVC title game berth – both accomplishments are also personal firsts for every member of the current roster.

Nebraska (18-12) was initially uncertain about its postseason commitment due to injuries. Nearly every Husker has battled at least one injury/condition, and three seniors – including former Drake star Kyndal Clark – are out for the season. The Huskers ultimately accepted a tournament spot as an at-large selection from the Big Ten.

Close-up on #UNIWBB's section of the bracket

Close-up on #UNIWBB’s section of the bracket

Check out the team capsules for this initial WNIT match-up:

UNI Panthers (22-10 overall, 15-3 MVC (1st; Runner-Up))
MVC Championship: 46-45 win versus Bradley, 67-43 win versus Southern Illinois, 71-58 loss versus Missouri State (RECAP)
Preseason prognostication: 3rd/10 (one first-place vote), 23 points above #4 Southern Illinois
Highlighted stats: 17+ wins in seven straight .500+ seasons with six postseason bids; Program-record 12 games with fewer than 50 points allowed
Spotlight: Stephanie Davison, who has a trip to the Final Four coming up

Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-12 overall, 9-9 Big Ten (T-7th; Second Round))
Big Ten Tournament: 66-63 loss versus Rutgers (RECAP)
Preseason prognostication: N/A (Not picked in top three of Big Ten coaches, media polls)
Highlighted stats: 12th postseason appearance over past 13 seasons; Top Ten nationally with 18.1 assists/game (7th), 37.9% behind arc (9th)
Spotlight: Jessica Shepard, program’s first-ever Big Ten Freshman of the Year

Listen to Thursday’s broadcast starting at 6:45pm on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. For more information and updates on the Panthers’ progress and coverage as needed, visit unipanthers.com. Thanks for reading, and let’s go dancing! U-N-I Fight! #UNIFight