NSU women's basketball receives first WNIT selection in program history

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Posted at 2:51 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 02:51:36-04

Norfolk, Va. ( – The Norfolk State women's basketball team received an automatic berth to the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), the tournament revealed Sunday afternoon. The announcement marks the team's first national postseason selection since 2002, and first-ever appearance in the WNIT.

The Spartans earned their spot in the 64-team WNIT field as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's (MEAC) automatic qualifier. The automatic berth for each conference goes to the highest-finishing team in the conference's regular season standings that isn't selected for the NCAA Tournament. With No. 1 seed Howard defeating No. 2 NSU in the MEAC Championship for the conference's NCAA Tournament berth, the MEAC's spot in the WNIT went to the Spartans.

The selection extends an already-historic season for NSU. The Spartans went 15-10 in the regular season, posting an 11-3 conference record that earned the squad its first-ever share of the MEAC regular season title. NSU landed two players (Deja Francis and Camille Downs) on the All-MEAC First Team for the first time in program history, and Mahoganie Williams earned Second Team honors. Downs and Williams were both named to the All-Defensive Team, with Downs awarded MEAC Defensive Player of the Year.

The Spartans advanced all the way to the MEAC Championship by defeating No. 7 seed North Carolina Central in the quarterfinal and No. 3 Morgan State in the semifinal. The team clinched the thrilling win over the Bears when Downs hit a miraculous turnaround jumper at the buzzer. Downs and Francis were both selected to the All-Tournament Team.

The official WNIT bracket will be posted by 2:00 p.m. on Monday, which will reveal the Spartans' seed and opening opponent. The first round will take place between Mar. 16 and Mar. 18 across 32 host sites.