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May 28, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The three-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State Lady Lions will open the 2014-15 season by participating in the Preseason WNIT. The Lady Lions are among the 16 teams in the field, it was announced today by Triple Crown Sports. The full bracket, game times and dates will be announced in June.
The field features Albany, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Colorado, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, Mercer, Mississippi State, North Dakota, Penn State, Rider, Seton Hall, St. Francis Brooklyn, Towson, West Virginia, and Western Kentucky. Nine of the 16 teams are coming off postseason appearances, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament and four in the WNIT.
The Preseason WNIT is formatted to give all teams a three-game guarantee. The event opens Nov. 14-15 with Round One. Round Two will be played Nov. 16-17; Semifinals will be Nov. 19-20; and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. ET. The championship game will be nationally televised live in HD on CBS Sports Network. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on Nov. 21-22. All games are hosted by participating schools.
This will be Penn State's second appearance in the Preseason WNIT. The Lady Lions finished second in the 2002 Preseason WNIT with wins over Bucknell, Siena and Mississippi State before falling at Kansas State in the title game. Kelly Mazzante scored 112 points in the four-game tournament, which is still the Preseason WNIT record.
The Lady Lions claimed their third-straight Big Ten regular-season title with a 24-8 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference play. It is the first time in school history that the Lady Lions won three consecutive regular-season crowns (Big Ten or Atlantic 10). Penn State has made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the Sweet Sixteen last year after wins over Wichita State and Florida.
After the graduation of a very accomplished senior class, senior forward Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) is the top returnee for Penn State. She started every game as a junior and averaged 4.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She also rejected 39 shots a year ago to bring her career total to 89, which is tied for 11th on PSU's career list.
Also returning for the Lady Lions are sophomores Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.). Mitchell is the second-leading returning scoring at 4.5 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per outing. Whitted accounted for 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds with a .522 field goal percentage in conference play. Overall, she was second on the team in field goal percentage with a .463 mark.
About the WNIT
The Preseason WNIT began in its modern form in 1994. Since its inception, over 200 teams representing all 32 conferences have competed in the tournament. The UConn Huskies have won the championship a record three times. It is organized and produced by Triple Crown Sports, a national sports event company based in Fort Collins, Colo. For more information on the WNIT please visit: www.womensnit.com.
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. The 2014 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Total Package Team Camp (June 19-21), Elite Camp (June 21-22), Pre-National Team Shootout (22-24) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 1-3). For more information on Lady Lion Basketball Camps, please visit GoPSUsports.com/camps and click on Girls Basketball Camp under Summer Camps.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) and sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.