Southeast hopes to host game in WNIT

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team might not have played its final home game after all.

Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said the university will submit a bid in the hopes of having one or more Women's National Invitation Tournament games at the Show Me Center.

The WNIT issues berths to all regular-season conference champions that don't make the NCAA tournament, meaning the Redhawks are included even if they don't host.

Southeast won its third straight Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title this year, but lost last week in the semifinals of the OVC tournament.

The Redhawks (23-8) had won the past two OVC tournament titles to earn the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

The field and pairings for the 48-team WNIT will be announced Monday night, after the NCAA field is set.

There will be 16 first-round games, to be played March 19 through March 21.

Kaverman said the bid Southeast will submit will have the Redhawks playing the first round at the Show Me Center on March 19.

Kaverman said Southeast will submit bids to host the first three rounds of the WNIT, although that would be contingent on the Redhawks winning.

"It would be great for our team to play in front of our home fans again," Kaverman said. "Our fans have given us great support this year."

Southeast won't know whether its bid to host at least one WNIT game is accepted until some time Monday night, after the field is set.

The WNIT is played entirely at campus sites, with the second round March 22 through 24, the third round March 26 through 28, the quarterfinals March 29 through 31, the semifinals April 2 and 3, and the championship April 5.

Southeast coach John Ishee said he and his players would welcome the chance to perform at home again this season.

"It would be awesome to get a national playoff game at the Show Me Center," Ishee said.

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