The UNI women’s basketball team is doing to the big dance after being selected to the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament tonight. The Panthers are slated to play DePaul on Friday, March 17 in Starkville, Miss. in the Oklahoma City Region at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
It is the third time in program history that the Panthers have secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, also appearing in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011. The selection is the first at-large bid the Missouri Valley Conference has received since 2013 and just the 11th in conference history.
The Panthers are coming off another historic season. UNI currently has 24 wins, the first time in school history the Panthers have had back-to-back seasons with 20-plus victories. They finished second during the MVC regular season and made a run to the MVC Tournament championship game for the second consecutive year.
This is UNI’s seventh post-season appearance in the last eight seasons. UNI has played against the DePaul Demons three times in program history (1983, 1985, 2001) with the 2001 game taking place in the WNIT.
The Panthers enter the NCAA Tournament with a 24-8 overall record, which included a 9-5 non-conference finish. UNI has faced off against eight teams ranked inside the top-100 in RPI, beating three inside the top-60 and is the only Valley school with two top-25 RPI wins.
It is the eighth straight season that UNI has won 17 or more games and is the ninth season in a row that the Panthers have finished in the top-half of the Valley standings. At the helm of the program is head coach Tanya Warren, who became UNI’s all-time wins leader this season with 186 career coaching wins.