Missouri women's basketball receives Women's National Invitation Tournament bid

Monday, March 18, 2013 | 10:52 p.m. CDT; updated 12:29 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — For the first time in six years, the Missouri women's basketball team is headed to the postseason. 

The Tigers received a bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament on Monday night and will face Eastern Illinois in the first round of the tournament. 

The first-round game will take place Wednesday at Mizzou Arena. A time has not been announced yet.

If the Tigers advance, they will play the winner of the first-round matchup between Illinois and Miami of Ohio. 

This marks the Tigers' first postseason appearance under coach Robin Pingeton and their first since 2007, when they lost in the second round of the WNIT to Wyoming. 

In Pingeton's third season at the helm, Missouri went 17-14 overall and 6-10 in Southeastern Conference play, including wins over then-No. 9 Tennessee and then-No. 15 South Carolina. 

Eastern Illinois earned an automatic bid to the WNIT as the best team in the Ohio Valley Conference to not be chosen for the NCAA tournament.

The Panthers went 19-11 overall this season, with a 12-4 conference record. They won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title but were upset in the conference tournament semifinals by Tennessee-Martin, which went on to win their third straight NCAA bid. 

Eastern Illinois enters the tournament on a three-game losing streak. The Panthers have been in three of the past four WNIT tournaments. 

The Tigers and Panthers had four common opponents during the regular season: Western Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Murray State and Tennessee-Martin. Missouri went 4-0 in games against these opponents, while Eastern Illinois went 4-5. 

Eastern Illinois is led by senior guard Ta'Kenya Nixon, who averaged 14.6 points, and senior forward Mariah King, who averaged 14 points per game this season.

Seven SEC teams made the women's NCAA tournament, and four are in the WNIT, with Arkansas, Auburn and Florida joining Missouri in the bracket. 

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