CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - For the sixth time in seven years, the America East Conference is sending at-least three teams to the postseason after the NCAA, WNIT and WBI brackets were revealed on Monday night. League champion University at Albany along with Stony Brook University and the University of Maine all continue their seasons this week.
The Great Danes, which won their third-straight America East crown on March 10 and set a Division I program record for wins with 28, will play in the NCAA tournament, while the Seawolves will play in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) for the second time in school history. Maine earned its 11th postseason bid and its first since 2005 as the Black Bears will host a Women's Basketball Invitational tournament game.
Albany (28-4), which earned the conference automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a 70-46 win over Stony Brook in the America East title game on Monday, March 10, will be the No. 15 seed in the Louisville Regional and will play No. 2 seed West Virginia, the Big 12 Champion, on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Baton Rouge, La. The game, which will tip at 3 p.m., will air nationally on ESPN and via WatchESPN on smartphones and tablets.
The Great Danes became just the fourth team in America East history to capture three-straight conference titles with a win over the second-seeded Seawolves in the 2014 title game. Shereesha Richards scored a game-high 26 points on her way to being named the tournament Most Outstanding Player and the Albany defense held Stony Brook to 24.5% shooting from the floor.
Albany, which did not qualify for an NCAA tournament in its first 10 years in the league, will make its third-straight tournament appearance. The Great Danes fell as a No. 14 seed to No. 3 seed Texas A&M, 69-47, in 2012 before putting a scare into third-seeded North Carolina again as a No. 14 seed last season, falling 59-54. The America East has four wins all-time in the NCAA tournament with the last coming by Vermont in 2010.
Stony Brook (24-8) finished second in the America East to earn the conference's automatic bid to the Women's NIT with a 13-3 league record. The Seawolves will travel to play the University of Michigan on Friday, March 21 with the time TBA.
This is the second postseason appearance for the Seawolves with both coming in the Women's NIT. Stony Brook also qualified for the tournament with the conference's automatic bid in 2006, where the Seawolves fell to Hofstra, 92-65, in the first round.
The America East will make its 17th appearance in the Women's NIT with four teams notching wins since 2007. Most recently, Boston University earned a win last season over Sacred Heart in the first round. The last team to advance past the second round was Vermont in 2002, which fell in the quarterfinals.
Maine (16-14) is one of 16 teams to compete in the Women's Basketball Invitational postseason tournament, marking the first postseason appearance for the Black Bears since 2005 (WNIT). The Black Bears will host Bucknell at Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The America East will make its second appearance in the WBI, as New Hampshire earned a bid in 2012. The Wildcats fell to Holy Cross on the road. Maine will be the first conference team to host a WBI game. It will be the 11th overall postseason appearance for Maine, which has 12 more games this season (16) than last year (4).