Record Four Teams Headed To Postseason Tourneys
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- An America East record four teams will participate in postseason tournaments as determined overnight Monday as tourney brackets were unveiled. This is the third time in four seasons in which at least three squads have advanced past the conference tournament and onto the national stage.
The University at Albany earned a trip to the NCAA Championship by winning the conference tournament, while Boston University (automatic) and University of Hartford (at-large) gained berths to the Postseason WNIT. University of New Hampshire will be the first America East program to play in the third annual Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI).
ESPN revealed during the NCAA Selection Show that Albany will be playing in the Raleigh Region corner of the bracket. The winner of the Albany-Texas A&M matchup will face the winner of No. 6 Arkansas and No. 11 Dayton on Monday night.
The Danes (23-9) captured their first America East Championship as the tournament's No. 2 seed with a 69-61 win over No. 5 UMBC Saturday night. Most Outstanding Player of the tournament Ebone Henry, a junior guard, and teammate senior Cassandra Callaway each scored 23 points in Albany's win. Also named the Defensive Player of the Year, Henry averaged 16.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.3 spg in the tournament to take home the championship's top individual honor.
Albany enters the NCAA Tournament on a 10-game win streak. The Great Danes, led by second-year head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, are the midst of their first 20-win season since joining the Division I ranks 11 years ago.
The Aggies (22-10) are an at-large team out of the Big 12 Conference making their seventh straight appearance and ninth overall. Texas A&M won the 2012 NCAA Championship over Notre Dame. The Aggies, ranked #22/#14 in the national polls, fell to Baylor, the number one overall seed in the NCAA tourney field, in the Big 12 title game last weekend.
Thirty-one conferences were granted automatic bids for the 2012 championship and the
remaining 33 teams were selected at-large. First- and second-round games will be played at 16 sites Saturday, March 17 thru Tuesday, March 20. The 16 second-round winners move on to the four regional sites.
Boston U. (23-8) won the America East Regular-Season Championship and the league's auto bid to the WNIT. The Terriers will head to Philadelphia for a Thursday night matchup with St. Joseph's. It is the program's third appearance in the WNIT after back-to-back appearances in 2009 and 2010.
Hartford (19-12) will host Syracuse in a first-round WNIT game on Friday night after earning one of 33 at-large berths to the tournament. With the Hawks' home game, an America East squad has now hosted a Postseason WNIT game in five of the last six seasons. Hartford, who also participated in the Preseason WNIT in November, finished third in the America East during the regular season before falling in the quarterfinals.
New Hampshire (16-13) accepted an invitation to play in the 16-team WBI field and will face Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Thursday night at 7 p.m. This will be just the second postseason appearance for the Wildcats after also participating in the 1999 WNIT. UNH finished the regular season with its first winning season since 2005-06 and its most wins since 2001-02.
Continue to follow www.AmericaEast.com and the conference's official blog, AEXtra, for more postseason coverage.