HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team received an invitation to the 2012 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) on Monday evening. HPU will travel to Raleigh, N.C., to take on the Wolfpack of NC State on Thursday, March 15.
This year’s WNIT appearance by High Point marks the second postseason tournament berth in the team’s Div. I era and the first under first-year head coach Jennifer Hoover. The Panthers previously played in the WNIT in 2007 when they fell to Charlotte by a score of 77-49 in the first round.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity take part in the WNIT,” Hoover said. “Our first goal at the start of the season was to compete for a Big South Championship and our second was to play in the postseason. We hope this is a foreshadowing of things to come for this program. When I took the job I told our players we are about winning championships and part of that is playing in the postseason every year.”
High Point qualified for this season’s WNIT by finishing second in the Big South with a 13-5 conference record. The Panthers received the conference’s automatic bid after regular-season champion Liberty qualified for the NCAA tournament with a win over HPU in the Big South Championship on Sunday.
NC State is 18-15 on the season and finished ninth in the ACC with a 5-11 conference mark. The Wolfpack picked up wins over Florida State and Duke in the ACC Tournament as they advanced to the semifinals before falling to Georgia Tech. State is led by junior guard Marissa Kastanek who is averaging 13.1 points per game. She was named to the ACC All-Tournament first-team after averaging 15.7 points per game in three contests last week. The Wolfpack sports two other double-digit scorers in senior Bonae Holston (12.3 ppg) and sophomore Kody Burke (10.0 ppg). Holston leads the team in rebounding with 8.0 per game and Myisha Goodwin-Coleman leads the team in assists with 3.6 per game.
High Point has tied its Div. I record for wins in a season with a 20-12 overall record. The Panthers are led by a triumvirate of players in senior Shamia Brown, junior Erin Reynolds and sophomore Cheyenne Parker. All three players have broken the previous HPU Div. I single-season scoring record of 419 points, led by Brown who has 505 points for an average of 15.8 per game. Reynolds is also averaging 15.8 points per game and leads the team in assists (4.3) and steals (2.6). Parker is averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game and ranks second in the nation in blocked shots with 120.
The WNIT is a 64-team single-elimination tournament with all games played at the sites of host schools. The field consists of 31 automatic berths and 33 at-large teams. First round games will be played over a three-day period beginning on Wednesday, March 14 and the event culminates on Saturday, March 31 with the championship game.