HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Houston Lady Cougars, who recently wrapped up the regular season with a 19-12 overall record for their first winning season in nearly ten years, has received a bid to compete in this year's Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) beginning on March 14.
The Lady Cougars will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to face the New Mexico Lobos of the Mountain West Conference in the first round of the tournament on Thursday, March 15, with tip-off scheduled for 7:00pm (MT).
Houston is 2-1 lifetime against New Mexico, including an even 1-1 at The Pit in Albuquerque. The Lady Cougars defeated the Lobos, 85-68, in Albuquerque in the two schools' first meeting on December 5, 1981, fell to New Mexico by a final of 77-61 on December 19, 1998, and defeated New Mexico in their last meeting at Hofheinz Pavilion, 72-51, on November 29, 1999.
This year marks the first time since 1992 that the Lady Cougars have participated in post-season play and their second trip to the WNIT. Houston advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT in 1991 by defeating Northern Illinois in the first round before suffering back-to-back losses to Indiana and Kansas to finish in fourth place. The Lady Cougars have posted a 0-2 showing in their two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, having lost to UC-Santa Barbara in 1992 and Ole Miss in 1988.
Houston's dramatic turnaround this season-from a 7-21 team just a year ago to this year's showing-has been cited as one of the nine-best in NCAA Division I women's basketball this season. They earned a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed at this year's Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament and defeated Memphis, 80-74, in the quarterfinal round on March 3 before falling to eventual C-USA Champ Tulane, 78-74, in the semifinals on March 4.