Toreros to host Hawaii in the opening round of the Women’s NIT The women’s basketball team will play the Rainbow Wahine March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion

By Alex Bullock

After falling short of earning the West Coast Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA women’s basketball championships, the women’s basketball team instead earned a bid to the 2013 Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Last season, the Toreros made it to the national semifinals of the WNIT, where they lost to the eventual champion Oklahoma State University Cowgirls.

The Toreros (21-9, 12-4 WCC) will host the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine in the opening round of the tournament on March 21 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

The Rainbow Wahine were 17-13 overall on the season, 13-5 in the Big West Conference and are ending a 10-year postseason appearance drought. They are lead by junior forward Kamilah Martin who is almost averaging a double-double on the season with 15.4 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game.

The Toreros are 0-4 in their history against the Rainbow Wahine, although the last time the two teams played was in 1991 when some of the players on both teams were not even born.

The Toreros and the Rainbow Wahine played a few similar opponents this season. The Rainbow Wahine lost to the University of San Francisco Dons 65-52, a team the Toreros defeated twice this season in conference play.

Additionally, the Rainbow Wahine split two meetings with the Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo Mustangs, earning a 61-43 victory and suffering a 47-43 loss. Meanwhile, the Toreros were defeated by the Mustangs 69-50.

Finally, the Rainbow Wahine defeated the Long Beach State University 49ers twice on the season, 65-57 and 61-54 while the Toreros defeated the 49ers by a score of 67-49.

The winner of this opening round matchup will face the winner of the game between those same 49ers and the University of Utah Utes.

This season was the second-consecutive 20-win season for the Toreros, a feat they had never before accomplished. Although the team wished they could be playing on the bigger stage of the NCAA tournament, the young team can only stand to benefit from more postseason experience.

“I feel great about being in the postseason,” said head coach Cindy Fisher. “I think we are fortunate to still be playing, and am excited to get this young team some more playing experience.”

The Toreros have two seniors who will be leaving after this season. The majority of the team’s scoring comes from junior guard and All-West Coast Conference first team selection Amy Kame, sophomore forward and All-WCC honorable mention Katelyn McDaniel and freshman forward and WCC Newcomer of the Year Maya Hood.