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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Owls Earn Automatic Qualifier Spot in Postseason WNIT

Posted: March 15, 2021 -- 10:59 p.m. CT

The Rice Owls women's basketball team will continue their 2020-21 journey as they will partake in the Women's National Invitational Tournament for the ninth time in program history.

The Owls, who were an automatic qualifier, will play in the Fort Worth Regional and face Arizona State on Friday, March 19, at 11 a.m. from the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. The regional runs through March 22, when a champion will be crowned.

Rice (18-4, 12-2) will be playing postseason basketball for the fourth time in the last five season under head coach Tina Langley, the lone exception being last year when the postseason was canceled due to COVID-19.

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This year's event will start with eight teams each at four regional sites — Charlotte, NC; Fort Worth, TX; Memphis, TN; and Rockford, IL. 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.

All games will be available via streaming through FloHoops. Every team will get at least two games in this year's event.

This is the 23rd year for the Postseason WNIT and the first year the event has bracketed only 32 teams 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 each — American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Pac-12. Other conferences represented include the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Colonial, West Coast, Horizon, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt and Western Athletic.

2021 WNIT Fort Worth Regional

Round 1 - Friday, March 19 (all times Central)

In bracket order; designated home team listed second

Game 1 Arizona State (11-10) vs. Rice (18-4) 11 a.m. FloHoops
Game 2 Fresno State (16-10) vs. Missouri (9-11) 2 p.m. FloHoops
Game 3 San Francisco (15-10) vs. Houston (16-7) 5 p.m. FloHoops
Game 4 California Baptist (24-0) vs. New Mexico (15-4) 8 p.m. FloHoops

Round 2 - Saturday, March 20 (all times Central)

Consolation No. 1 Losers Game 1 and 2 11 a.m. FloHoops
Consolation No. 2 Losers Game 3 and 4 2 p.m. FloHoops
Championship Semifinal No. 1 Winners Game 1 and 2 5 p.m. FloHoops
Championship Semifinal No. 2 Winners Game 3 and 4 8 p.m. FloHoops

Round 3 - Monday, March 22 (all times Central)

Consolation Final Winners Consolation 1 and 2 4 p.m. FloHoops
Championship Final Winners Semifinal 1 and 2 7 p.m. FloHoops

CLICK HERE for more news and info about the Rice Owls men's basketball team.

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