MEMPHIS – The University of Memphis women’s basketball team (17-14) has been included in the field for the 2013 WNIT, opening play Thursday night at Arkansas. This will be the fourth consecutive post-season bid for the program under Melissa McFerrin and is the Tigers’ third-straight WNIT appearance.
Memphis opened its 2012-13 season in the Preseason WNIT, defeating Grambling State in its season opener, then suffering a loss to eventual Sun Belt champions, Middle Tennessee, in the second round. The Tigers then went on the road and upended eventual Missouri Valley Conference finalists Illinois State, even while losing second-leading scorer Mooriah Rowser to injury. One game later, the Tigers lost Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir for seven games with a broken hand, then suffering a season-long four-game losing streak that included losses to UALR and Illinois, teams also in the WNIT field.
Abdul-Qaadir returned in time for a 72-69 win over SEC foe Missouri, and a 73-64 win over Tennessee Tech, finalists in the Ohio Valley Conference championships.
Memphis then went 8-8 in Conference USA play, sweeping the regular season series from UAB and Southern Miss before Southern Miss got the best of the third meeting with the Tigers in the opening round of the Conference USA Championships in Tulsa last week.
This is the third straight WNIT appearance for the Tigers. After advancing to the WBI finals in Melissa McFerrin’s second year at Memphis, the Tigers earned a first round home game against Alabama in 2011-12. Last year, Memphis again opened the WNIT at home, upending cross-state foe Chattanooga before falling on the road at Missouri State in the second round.