Boise State Basketball

Boise State to host NCAA Tournament qualifier in Preseason WNIT opener

The Boise State women’s basketball team will host 2019 Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State in the first round of the 26th annual Preseason WNIT.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at soon-to-be-named ExtraMile Arena in Boise.

The Vikings return seven players from a team that went 25-8 last season and earned a No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 78-40 to No. 2 Oregon in the first round.

If the Broncos beat Portland State, they would face the winner of Missouri State and Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. The remaining teams on Boise State’s side of the bracket are Prairie View A&M, Oklahoma, South Alabama and UAB.

Sitting on the opposite side of the bracket is Oregon State, which needed overtime to top the Broncos in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Beavers host UC Irvine in the first round.

Twelve of the 16 teams in the tournament field advanced to the postseason in 2018-19, with five of those squads qualifying for the NCAA Tournament — Boise State, DePaul, Missouri State, Oregon State and Portland State.

Each team is guaranteed three games in the tournament, with all games taking place at campus sites. The championship is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

The eight teams that lose first-round games will be regrouped into four-team consolation pools. The teams may be reshuffled from their original sides of the bracket. One team in each pool will host the three other teams.

A team may participate in the Preseason WNIT no more than once in a four-year period, and only one institution per conference can play in the tournament in the same year. New Mexico represented the Mountain West last season, falling in the second round. Past tournament winners include Iowa State (2018), Louisville (2017), Notre Dame (2016), Baylor (2015) and Mississippi State (2014).

The Broncos have advanced to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and should be in contention for a fourth consecutive bid in 2019-20. They lose seniors Joyce Harrell and Marta Hermida to graduation, but add 6-foot-5 Oregon transfer Mallory McGwire, who sat out last season, to the lineup.

The Gem State also will be represented in the tournament by two former prep stars. Boise High graduate Mandy Simpson plays for Oklahoma, while Mountain View alum Destiny Slocum is on Oregon State’s roster.

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