The University of Akron women's basketball team will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. Thursday, March 21, to take on Duquesne in the first round of the 2013 Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The Zips received an at-large bid to the 64-team tournament after posting a program-best 23-9 overall record and a 12-4 mark in the Mid-American Conference. UA won nine out of its last 10 regular season games before going on a run in the league tournament and making its first ever appearance in a MAC title game, falling to Central Michigan 86-68.
Duquesne also received an at-large bid out of the Atlantic-10 Conference with an overall mark of 23-7 and an 11-3 record in the league. The Dukes fell to Saint Joseph's in the A-10 Tournament quarterfinal round, 73-60. Duquesne is 12-2 this season on its home floor at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Akron is 1-4 all-time versus Duquesne, most recently completing a home-and-away series over the last two seasons. The Zips lost to the Dukes 77-70 on Dec. 14, 2011 at James A. Rhodes Arena, and fell 69-58 on the road on Dec. 1, 2010.
The winner of Thursday's contest will move on to face the winner of Bowling Green and SMU, taking place the same day at BGSU's Stroh Center.
Tickets for the Zips' first round game at Duquesne must be purchased through the home site. For more information, click here or call 412.232.DUKE (3853). The official game time will be announced on Tuesday.
This is just the third time in the program's 39-year history that Akron has advanced to postseason play, and its second appearance in the WNIT. The Zips closed out the 1998-99 season with a 76-65 road loss at Michigan State in first round tournament action.
Akron's only other postseason berth came in 2010 when the Zips traveled to Wichita State for the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), dropping a close 67-61 decision.
Toledo earned the MAC's automatic WNIT berth after winning the regular season title. In addition to the Rockets and Bowling Green, Akron is also joined in the tournament by and Miami (Ohio), and Ball State.
The MAC, Conference USA and the A-10 fielded the most teams of any conference in this year's WNIT with five apiece, and the bracket features 36 teams with 20 or more wins.
Tournament officials awarded an Automatic Qualifying berth to 29 conferences. This spot went to the team that finished the highest in the regular-season conference standings that did not advance to the NCAA Tournament. If there were ties, the WNIT abided by the conference tiebreaker. A team earns the AQ berth regardless of its overall record. A total of 35 teams were then given an At-Large berth; a team must have an overall record of .500 or better to be considered.