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Women's basketball just misses NCAA Tournament, headed for WNIT

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The Cougars got oh so close.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year and just the third time since joining the Pac-12 in 1986, Washington State's women's basketball team is headed to the postseason. The Cougars came up just shy of a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but will instead play in the WNIT again.

WSU finished the regular season 17-13, including four top-50 RPI wins. That was nearly good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament as WSU finished third among the first four teams out. The Cougars may have been just a win shy of making the NCAA Tournament for the second time ever and first since 1990-91. An early February stretch where WSU lost to Cal by three, to Oregon by one and to Oregon State by five in straight games may have proven to be fatal. Pull out one of those games, especially against OSU, and WSU may be headed for a different tournament. Even still, it's another solid accomplishment for the Cougars and this year, WSU will get to host at least a game.

"We are excited to play in the postseason for the second straight year and are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to improve and represent Washington State in a chase for a championship," head coach June Daugherty said in a statement via WSUCougars.com. "We were right there in the "First Four Out" as an NCAA participant but came up a little short. We are looking forward to representing the Pac-12 Conference in the WNIT and can't wait to play."

The Cougars will play their first WNIT game on Wednesday when they host Eastern Washington. Despite the two schools being so close, this will be the first game between WSU and EWU since 2007. WSU has won 26 of 36 games in the series. If WSU were to win, it would be the Cougars' first postseason win ever. It would also send them to a matchup with either Pacific or Sacramento State.