EMU Women's Basketball Gets Preseason NIT Bid

Updated 5/31/2000

EMU coach Suzy Merchant gives instructions to guard Stephanie Smiley.
YPSILANTI (May 31) -- Eastern Michigan University's women's basketball squad has been selected to play in the 2000 Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament.

The Eagles will open the 2000 Preseason NIT at Purdue, the 1999 NCAA National Champion, on Saturday, Nov. 11.

"This is a great honor and great opportunity for our program," EMU Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. "We worked hard last year to get a bid to the postseason tournament and just missed. However, this is a chance to start off a new year with a big game and also get a chance to go against some top competition. I know the kids are excited about the chance to take on a top-level program like Purdue."

This selection marks the first time in EMU women's basketball history that Eastern Michigan has been selected to a national preseason or postseason tournament. It is also the fifth-straight season and six of the last seven that the Mid-American Conference has had a team selected to the tournament. The winner of the EMU-Purdue matchup will play the winner of the Georgetown-James Madison game, also Nov. 11, on Monday, Nov. 13 at one of the campus sites.

The 16-team tournament, hosted by the Women's Collegiate Sports Association and Triple Crown Sports, includes seven teams from the 2000 NCAA Tournament, including Purdue, George Washington, Louisiana Tech, Rice, Texas, Tulane and Virginia. The event also includes 2000 Postseason Women's NIT participants Georgetown, Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Wichita State. The tournament's semifinals will be played Sun., Nov. 19 and the championship and consolation game, Mon., Nov. 20 on campus sites.

The Eagles open the 2000 regular season, Nov. 17-18, as they host the EMU Women's Basketball Tipoff Classic at the Convocation Center.