The Drexel University women’s basketball team has been given the honor to compete in the preseason National Invitational Tournament beginning Nov. 11 and ending Nov. 20 with the championship game.
The tournament will be played at eight different host sites and will feature some of the top competition in the county, including Baylor University, University of California-Los Angeles and the National Championship runner-up, University of Notre Dame.
The Dragons don’t yet know whom they will be matched up against, but the tournament will feature 16 teams from 16 different conferences who will play each other in a tournament format. The winners of the first round games will continue through the bracket, and the losers will be placed in a consolation bracket. All teams will play a minimum of three games, with the two teams in the final playing four.
This format, coupled with the quality of the teams playing, should give Drexel head coach Denise Dillon a good feel for her squad as they head in to the regular season.
The Dragons had their fourth straight winning season with a 19-13 record and competed in the post-season WNIT, where they lost a closely contested match with Florida Gulf Coast. The Dragons will now have some big shoes to fill with the departure of their leading scorer, Jasmina Rosseel. Dillon will look for All-Philadelphia honorees Hollie Mershon and Kamile Nacickaite to step up this season.
Drexel, who was 12-2 at the DAC this past season, hopes to be one of the teams selected to host games in this year’s WNIT, an event to which they have not been invited to since 2005.
Starting in 1994, the preseason WNIT tournament has grown to become one of the premiere pre-season tournaments in the nation. The caliber of teams invited to play has constantly evolved, and this season could be the best crop yet.
An invitation to the WNIT shows that Drexel University is becoming one of the top programs in women’s college basketball.
The Dragons need to use this tournament not only as a measuring stick to see how they match up with some elite teams in the country, but also as a learning tool.
With the Colonial Athletic Association becoming an increasingly difficult conference to compete in year in and year out, and with the out of conference and city schedule the Dragons play, they will need to use their experiences from this tournament to better prepare themselves for the upcoming 2011-12 season.
Of course, the Dragons will not be there just to learn — they will be there to win.