The Maryland women's basketball team, which was bypassed Monday night when the NCAA tournament field was selected, will instead play in the National Invitation Tournament, hosting Iona on Friday night at Comcast Center.
"We have high standards at Maryland and are disappointed to not make the NCAA tournament this year," said coach Brenda Frese, whose Terps are 19-12 overall and finished 5-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. "However, I'm proud of this young team for the fight they showed all season. We knew there were going to be a lot of challenges and it is really rewarding to see the growth and development of our young players."
"We'll use the WNIT to allow us more practice and game time together to keep improving. Every day we play together is a chance to get better. We'll use this season away from the `Big Dance' to fuel our returning and incoming players during the offseason and next year."
Should Maryland advance, it would play the winner of Drexel and East Carolina on a date to be determined. If the Terrapins reach the quarterfinals, they could meet ACC foes Wake Forest or Miami.
The WNIT expanded this season to 64 teams The field includes 31 teams that earned automatic berths and 33 teams that earned at-large slots.
Maryland has a 2-1 record in the WNIT, having advanced to the quarterfinals in 2000 under Chris Weller. That year, the Terrapins defeated Georgetown, 63-46, in the first round and Virginia Tech, 68-60, in overtime before falling to tournament runner-up Florida, 77-57.
Iona will be making its third postseason appearance, having played in the WNIT in 2007 and 2008. The Gaels finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with an 18-13 record. Thazina Cook leads Iona with 14.9 points per game and 7.3 rebounds.
Maryland is 2-0 all time against Iona, with both games in College Park. The teams last met Jan. 22, 1997, with the Terps winning, 95-41.
The Terps, who made the NCAA tournament the past six season and won the 2006 national championship, have nine freshmen and sophomores and one senior this season. Sophomore forward Lynetta Kizer leads the team with 13.0 points per game and 7.6 rebounds a game.
Tickets go on sale today at 8:30 a.m. at umterps.com and through 1-800-IM-A-TERP. General admission seats are $10 for adults and $8 for children; reserved seats are $12.
Season-ticket holders have until noon Wednesday to reserve their same seats before they're made available to the general public.
The game time has yet to be announced.