PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers women’s basketball team will begin the 2003-2004 season by participating in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), hosting St. Peter’s in the first round on Friday, Nov. 14.
The winner of the Rutgers-St. Peter’s game will play the winner of the Jackson State-Mississippi contest in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 16. All games for the 16-team tournament will be conducted on home campuses, and the next round’s host sites will be determined after the completion of the previous round. The semifinals will be held Thursday, Nov. 20, and the championship game will be conducted on Sunday, Nov. 23.
The other first-round games will be Texas-San Antonio at Texas Tech, Rhode Island at Western Kentucky, Southeast Missouri State at Utah, San Diego at UC-Santa Barbara, Miami (Ohio) at Michigan and Liberty at Cincinnati. Seven of the 16 teams appeared in the 2003 NCAA Tournament (Cincinnati, Liberty, Rutgers, Santa Barbara, Texas Tech, Utah and Western Kentucky), and each of those seven teams received votes for the national top-25 polls at some point last season.
This year will mark the 10th-annual Preseason WNIT, and the third time that the Scarlet Knights will participate. In the first-ever WNIT in 1994, Rutgers lost to visiting Seton Hall 66-64 in the first round. In 1998, RU advanced to the championship game, losing at Colorado State 71-60.
The remainder of Rutgers’ 2003-2004 will be announced at a later date, as will the game time for the first-round WNIT game.
Rutgers engineered the most dramatic turnaround in Division I this year, improving from 9-20 in 2001-2002 to 21-8 and a trip to the 2003 NCAA Tournament’s second round.