The Cougar women's basketball team (17-16, 11-9 Pac-12) didn't receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament on Monday, but they were selected to play in the WNIT. WSU will open the first round on the road, traveling to face Montana (22-10, 14-6 Big Sky) on Wednesday.
The bid marks the first time the program has played in the postseason since the 1990-1991 team was bounced from the first round of the NCAA Tournament. While the Cougars came up short of reaching the NCAA Tournament, the postseason berth is a solid way to cap off the best season in 19 years. The team will now get to play at least one more game which means extra practices for the young squad. The postseason experience can't hurt either.
While the field was announced, the seedings were not. Because of that, we can't be certain if WSU turned down a home game, or Montana was simply the higher seed. WSU is playing host for the NCAA Tournament in Spokane which puts a heavy strain on the athletic department. It's possible they simply didn't have the staff needed to host a game.
The Cougs are one of four Pac-12 teams to earn a berth in the WNIT. Washington, Colorado, and Oregon were also selected. Washington received the automatic bid as the Huskies were had the best conference record among teams not selected for the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies finished the season 10-8 in Pac-12 while WSU was one game worse at 9-9. The fact that Washington, Oregon and Colorado will all host first-round games might be an indication the Cougars turned down the chance to host a game. Depending on how things shake out, WSU could potentially host a game down the road.
In order for that to happen, the Cougars will first need to knock off a quality Montana team. The Cougars haven't played Montana since a 74-54 loss in Missoula in 2007. Game times will be finalized and released on Tuesday.
The complete WNIT bracket can be found here.