Women’s basketball headed to WNIT, face Butler Thursday


File photo by Muhammad Elarbi

Sophomore guard Stella Clark looks to release on a fast break in a Jan. 20 game against Delaware.

Vincent van Oorschot, news staff

Northeastern is set to take on the Butler Bulldogs (21-9) on March 21 in Indianapolis after receiving an invitation to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament for the first time in the program’s history under the current WNIT format.

The invitation also marks the first time Northeastern’s women’s basketball has made a postseason tournament in back-to-back seasons since 1983 and 1984, with the team coming off an invitation to last season’s Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) tournament (the second tournament below the NCAA Tournament).

The Huskies, who finished the season with an overall record of 20-11, are one of three teams from the Colonial Athletic Association who received an invite to the WNIT. Other teams include Drexel (24-8), who knocked the Huskies out of the CAA Tournament in the semis, and CAA regular season champion James Madison (25-5), who experienced the biggest upset in CAA tournament history, going down to ninth-seeded Hofstra in the CAA quarters.

Northeastern’s major highlight of the season was its 9-0 start through non-conference play, tying the program’s best-ever start to a season.

However, a couple of three-game losing streaks during CAA play showed a contrast of form in the second half of the season. Northeastern’s inability to get over the .500 mark placed them as the sixth seed, matching them up with UNCW in the CAA quarterfinals. After a convincing 75-64 victory over the Seahawks in Delaware, they went on to face Drexel in the semis.

After a hard-fought battle that went into overtime, the Dragons gained the upper hand and controlled the final five minutes of the game, taking the contest 73-69, ending the Huskies’ CAA tournament run.

Butler, who finished third in the Big East, will host Northeastern at the Hinkle Fieldhouse this Thursday at a time to be announced.