ATLANTA (March 14) – Georgia Tech’s women’s basketball team will host Southern Mississippi in the firstround of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday in Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. The winner will advance to play the winner of Alabama and Chattanooga in the second round on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Tickets for the game are $5 for adults and $3 for children age 16 and under. They can be purchased Thursday evening at the gate or in advance by calling the Tech ticket office at 1-888-TECH-TIX.
The Yellow Jackets overcame the losses of 6-foot-4 sophomore Aisha Howard (Washington, D.C.) and 1999 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year Niesha Butler (New York, N.Y.) to post a 15-13 overall record and a 7-9 mark in the ACC. Tech finished sixth in the ACC during the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1992. Howard, the tallest player on Tech’s roster, found out before the season she would have to miss the entire 1999-2000 campaign due to a knee injury suffered in January of last year. Butler missed all but four games this year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee early in Tech’s game with NC State on Nov. 30.
“I’m ecstatic,” Berenato said. “After losing our center and point guard at the start of the season, I’m proud of this team to come together and earn a postseason bid. I’m happy for my team, my staff and for Georgia Tech. Our goal at the beginning of the year was to go to the NCAA, but with everything that has happened, we are appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to play in the postseason. This is a small step for us, but it’s a big step for the future of the program.”
Southern Mississippi finished 17-12 overall and finished tied fourth in Conference USA with a 10-6 league mark. The Lady Eagles are led by senior guard Angela Atterberry, who averages 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
“Southern Miss is a good team, and we will have our hands full,” Berenato said. “They have played a competitive schedule and are very well respected. They do a good job in transition both offensively and defensively. I think this will make for a great game.”
With its WNIT bid, Georgia Tech making its third postseason appearance in school history and its first since 1993. The Yellow Jackets have been to the WNIT in 1992 and the NCAA Tournament in 1993.
The Yellow Jackets are 3-0 all-time in the WNIT, having won the event in Tech’s first-ever postseason appearance. The Yellow Jackets defeated Wisconsin Green-Bay and Nebraska to reach the championship game where Tech defeated Hawaii, 90-72, to claim the title.
The Yellow Jackets are the only ACC school to have won a WNIT title. Seven of the nine ACC schools have appeared in the WNIT at least once. Clemson has received three WNIT bids, while North Carolina and Tech have earned two each. Duke, Maryland NC State and Virginia have earned one each.