Courtesy Yale Sports Publicity
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale University women's basketball team learned late Monday night that it will play at least one more home game before the 2010-11 season has ended. Yale will host Atlantic Coast Conference power Boston College on Thursday. The game will be played inside John J. Lee Amphitheater on the Yale University campus. The time of the game will be announced Tuesday afternoon.
Fans of the Bulldogs can keep checking YaleBulldogs.com for updates.
Yale, which finished the regular season with a 14-14 record, is making its first-ever appearance in the WNIT and is appearing in its first postseason tournament since 1979. Yale has played in a postseason tournament only three times in its 38-year history, in 1977, 1978 and 1979.
Late Monday, the Women's National Invitational Tournament announced the field of 64 teams that will compete in the WNIT Postseason Tournament. Yale was one of 31 teams to earn an automatic berth in the WNIT. The remaining 33 teams earned at-large berths.
"I am so excited we are playing at home! I think it's going to be awesome," Yale senior captain Yoyo Greenfield said. "B.C. is definitely a strong opponent, but I am very confident in our team. We have done a lot of amazing things so far this season and we all want to keep it up for as long as possible. We played them in a tough game my freshman year, so it is kind of bringing it full circle."
The WNIT will open with first-round games Wednesday through Friday, March 16-18. All games in the single-elimination tournament are held on the campuses of participating schools. Second-round games will be played Saturday through Monday, March 19-21. Third-round games will be held March 23-25. The WNIT quarterfinals are scheduled to be held March 26-28. The WNIT's Final Four semifinal games will be played on March 30-31. The WNIT Championship game will be held on April 2, and will be hosted by one of the two final participating schools.
The announcement that Yale will host Thursday's game means that the Bulldogs' two seniors, Greenfield and forward Mady Gobrecht, will play at least one more game in John J. Lee Amphitheater before their collegiate careers come to an end.
"We had a very good feeling that our opponent in the first round would be Boston College. We are absolutely thrilled, however, that the game is going to be played on our home court," Gobrecht said. "The whole postseason experience has been a little foreign to us, but playing at home I think will keep us comfortable in this exciting opportunity."
Should Yale advance past Boston College on Thursday, it will face the winner of the St. Joseph's-Virginia Commonwealth matchup.
In Yale's 38-year history, it is 0-2 versus Boston College and 2-8 against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, the Bulldogs have won their last two meetings against ACC opponents, including a 91-85 win over then-No. 15/14 Florida State on Dec. 18, Yale's first-ever win over a ranked opponent. Yale also defeated North Carolina State University 65-61 on Nov. 22, 2008, during the Subway Classic in Minneapolis, Minn.
Yale's only two meetings with Boston College include a 58-38 home loss on Dec. 29, 1997, and a 57-55 loss at Boston College on Jan. 13, 2008.
"We weren't very good back then but still put up a good fight," Greenfield said. "It's kind of cool that we are playing them again my senior year because we have changed so much as a program. The difference from where we were then and where we are now is huge. We hope to prove that in our game this Thursday. It's a chance for Mady and I to show everyone how far we have come and everything we have given to Yale basketball.
"They are bigger than any girls we have played in a while so it's going to be a challenge, but we are up for it. The fact that we are playing at home is great in my opinion. We are the most comfortable here and usually knock down the most shots here. We are so excited to hopefully make some history and take our program to another level."
The WNIT awards an automatic qualifying 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. If there is a tie, the WNIT abides by the conference tiebreaker. A team earns the automatic qualifying berth regardless of its overall record. However, to be considered for a WNIT at-large berth, a team must have an overall record of .500 or better.
Yale earned the Ivy League's automatic berth after finishing the regular season tied with Harvard in the League standings with a 10-4 record. The Bulldogs won the tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping the Crimson in the season series for the first time since the 1993-94 season. The Bulldogs finished 10-4 in Ivy League play for only the second time in their history, matching their Ivy League finish in 1988-89.
After a 4-10 start to the season, the Bulldogs' 10-4 Ivy League finish gives them momentum heading into the WNIT and opens the door to an opportunity to take the women's basketball program to a level that it has never reached in its 38-year history.
"It is really hard to believe that after four years, Yoyo and I have been lucky enough to help make such a lasting mark these past couple of weeks on women's basketball here at Yale," Gobrecht said. "We know how special this particular team is, and it would have broke my heart and felt absolutely unsatisfactory to end the season without the accomplishments this team has achieved. I know this program is headed in an amazing direction, and I am beyond ecstatic to know that Yoyo and I are here to experience the start of it before we leave Yale."
This year's field features five teams apiece from the Southeastern, Colonial, and Atlantic 10 Conferences, and four teams from the Missouri Valley and Mid American Conferences. The Pacific 10, Conference USA, Big 10, Mountain West, Big West, and Big 12 each have three teams in the WNIT. Other conferences represented in the field include: West Coast (2), Atlantic Coast (2), WAC (2), American East (1), SWAC (1), Big East (1), Ohio Valley (1), Big South (1), Ivy (1), Southern (1), MAAC (1), Horizon (1), Northeastern (1), MEAC (1), Southland (1), Sun Belt (1), Atlantic Sun (1), Summit (1), Patriot (1), and Big Sky (1).
Here are the first-round pairings:
Wednesday, March 16
• Pepperdine at Oklahoma State
• Portland State at Wyoming
• Butler at Wisconsin
• Wichita State at Kansas
• Delaware at Toledo
• Loyola-Maryland at Old Dominion
• Liberty at Charlotte
• Appalachian State at South Carolina
Thursday, March 17
• Boston College at Yale
• UC Riverside at Colorado
• California at Cal Poly
• UC Santa Barbara at Southern Cal
• Nevada at St. Mary's CA
• Arizona at Utah State
• Denver at BYU
• Central Michigan at Illinois State
• Kent State at Duquesne
• Rice at Missouri State
• Lamar at Arkansas
• Southern at Tulane
• Oral Roberts at TCU
• Lehigh at St. Bonaventure
• Monmouth at Syracuse
• Michigan at Eastern Michigan
• UNC Wilmington at Richmond
• Creighton at Northwestern
• Alabama at Memphis
• Auburn at Tennessee Tech
• VCU at St. Joseph's
• Morgan State at Virginia
Friday, March 18
• UMBC at Florida
• Drexel at FGCU