The Nebraska women’s basketball team earned a bid to the 32-team Postseason WNIT, when selections for the field were announced on Monday, March 15.
The Huskers finished the regular season with 12-12 overall record that included a 9-10 Big Ten Conference mark. Nebraska, which posted five wins over NCAA Tournament teams (Rutgers, Northwestern-2, Michigan State, Idaho State) will be the Big Ten’s lone representative in the Postseason WNIT.
This year’s tournament will start with eight teams at each of four regional sites — Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Worth, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rockford, Ill. First-round play begins Friday, March 19; Round 2 is March 20, and Round 3 is March 22. The four regional champions will advance to the Memphis site, with the semifinals tipping off March 26 and the championship game set for March 28.
Every team will get at least two games in this year’s event.
Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said the Huskers were excited to continue their season in the WNIT.
“We are heading into the postseason looking at the WNIT as a great opportunity,” Williams said. “We think we have a team that had a season worthy of NCAA Tournament selection, but we weren’t chosen. Now we have another chance to prove ourselves while getting our young players some invaluable experience. We are excited to keep playing, and we are going to try and make the most of it.”
Nebraska features second-team All-Big Ten guard Sam Haiby, along with honorable-mention All-Big Ten selections Isabelle Bourne and Kate Cain. Haiby, a junior from Moorhead, Minn., led the Huskers in scoring (17.3 ppg), assists (4.5 apg) and steals (1.2 spg) while adding 6.9 rebounds per contest. She is the only Big Ten player to rank among the top 12 players in the conference in scoring, rebounding and assists.
Bourne, a 6-2 sophomore forward from Canberra, Australia, ranked second among the Huskers in scoring (13.9 ppg) while leading the Big Red in rebounding (7.8 rpg).
Cain, a 6-5 senior center from Middletown, N.Y., averaged 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and a Big Ten-best 2.9 blocks per contest. Nebraska’s school record holder with 350 career blocks, which ranks No. 2 among all active NCAA Division I players, Cain is a three-time Big Ten All-Defensive selection and was one of 15 candidates for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Nebraska is one of eight Big Ten Conference teams to advance to the postseason, joining NCAA Tournament qualifiers Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Michigan State among the 96 overall postseason qualifiers around the nation.
The 2021 Postseason WNIT marks the 23rd year of the event and marks the first time it has featured a 32-team bracket since 2006, as tournament officials pared the event back because of COVID-19 issues. Scheduling restrictions this season made it impossible for teams to play their normal number of games, but four squads still notched 20 or more victories (Bowling Green, California Baptist, Delaware, UT Martin).
This year’s tournament features four teams from the Atlantic 10 and three teams each from the Big East, Missouri Valley and SEC. Five conferences placed two teams – the American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Pac-12. The ACC, Colonial, Horizon, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt and Western Athletic all added single representatives in the tournament.
The Huskers will take on UT Martin at the eight-team Memphis Regional in the WNIT on Friday at 11 a.m. (CT) at My Town Movers Fieldhouse in Colliersville, Tenn.
All of Nebraska’s games in the WNIT will be streamed live by FloHoops while also being carried live on radio by the Husker Sports Network, Huskers.com and the Huskers App.