Yes, even Washington is going dancing — sort of. UW accepted an invitation to play in the new Women’s Basketball Invitational, a 16-team tournament played on the campus of the higher seeds.
Washington is the No. 3 seed in its eight-team half of the bracket, playing No. 6 Portland on Wednesday at Edmundson Pavilion. Huskies coach Tia Jackson said she didn’t have to convince AD Scott Woodward to ante up to keep playing, either.
Looking at the games as an experience for the younger players, Jackson is hopeful UW has learned from its breakdown in losing to Oregon State by 10 in the opening round of the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday.
“We’re extremely fortunate that we get this opportunity to do it,” Jackson said.
Some players remained in their native California home after the conference tournament loss while Jackson and others returned on Friday. The team was told there was a chance they could extend their season, but not in the Women’s NIT, knowing they needed a few more wins to get a concrete invite.
UW rejoined for practice this afternoon and Jackson said the team was motivated, especially the four seniors who showed good leadership in the session.
“As things continued to look a little brighter for us, we kept the team informed,” Jackson said of advancing. “They were extremely energetic (in practice). They competed extremely hard against one another and I was very proud of them in that aspect.”
If Washington wins on Wednesday, it’ll actually have to travel to either play No. 2 Texas A&M;-Corpus Christi or No. 7 Cal State Bakersfield due to the NCAA tournament at Hec Ed this weekend.
You can get a full view of the bracket here and we’ll have more in the newspaper on Tuesday.