HARRISONBURG, Va., March 30, 2012 - A national title is at stake Saturday for the James Madison women's basketball team as March Madness and Madison Madness moves to Stillwater, Okla., for the championship game of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The Dukes play Oklahoma State in a 3 p.m. ET game to be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Both teams enter the game on five-game winning streaks, and each team won those five contests in WNIT games played on their respective home courts.
WNIT Championship Game Information
The Teams: JMU at Oklahoma State
When: Saturday, March 31, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena (capacity 13,611), Stillwater, Okla.
Tickets are available from the OSU Ticket Office
Click here for online orders.
General Admission seating - $15
Audio: WSVA 550 AM, Harrisonburg, Va. | MadiZONE on JMUSports.com
Video: CBS Sports Network. Click here for a Channel Finder to locate a channel in your area.
Harrisonburg Area Channels: Comcast Digital Ch. 732 & 854 | DirecTV Ch. 613 | DISH Ch 158
How Far Is It from Harrisonburg to Stillwater? 1,012 miles (as the crow files), 1,211 driving miles (about 19 hours)
The Series: The teams have never met.
About Oklahoma State: Located in Stillwater, Okla.... enrollment 33,464.
Conference Affiliation: Big 12 member... finished seventh in 2012... top six teams (including nationally top-ranked and unbeaten Baylor) and eighth-place Texas all went to the NCAA Tournament... nine of 10 Big 12 teams made postseason (7 NCAA, 2 WNIT)... lost to No. 10 seed and only Big 12 team not to make postseason play Missouri (72-68) in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
Coach: Jim Littell (Southwestern College '77), 21-12 in one Oklahoma State season and 649-129 in 15 career seasons
Record: 21-12 overall, 8-10 Big 12... Common opponents with JMU: none.
WNIT Results: Qualified automatically as the top finisher in the Big 12 to not advance to the NCAA Tournament. Defeated Central Arkansas (72-51) in the first round, Wichita State (63-44) in the second round, Missouri State (70-57) in the round of 16, Colorado (78-70) in the quarterfinals and San Diego (73-57) in the semifinals.
Players to Watch:
Liz Donohoe... 6-0 freshman forward... team-highs of 13.1 ppg and 7.7 rpg
Tiffany Bias... 5-6 sophomore guard... 13.0 ppg, team-high 6.6 assists per game
Toni Young...6-2 junior forward... 11.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Of Note: Both teams will be playing in the WNIT Championship for the first time in program history. Oklahoma State has out rebounded each of its postseason opponents and has outscored its opponents in the paint in each game of the WNIT. The Cowgirls are shooting 39.7 percent on the season, while JMU is 25-2 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting, compared to 4-5 when the Dukes' opponents shoot 40 percent or better.
The Cowgirls are attempting to win a championship at the end of a season marked by the death of head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in a November plane crash.
Conference Affiliation: Colonial Athletic Association member... finished second in 2012... beat No. 7 seed George Mason (64-54) in the quarterfinal round before falling to No. 3 seed Drexel (67-50) in the tournament semifinals.
WNIT: Qualified as the top finisher in the CAA to not advance to the NCAA Tournament (CAA champion Delaware was league's lone representative in NCAAs). Results: Defeated Davidson (64-49) in the round of 64, Wake Forest (84-76) in the round of 32, South Florida (72-45) in the round of 16, Virginia (68-59) in the quarterfinals and Syracuse (74-71) in the semifinals.
Coach: Kenny Brooks (JMU '92), 227-94 in 10 JMU and career seasons
Record: 29-7 overall, 14-4 CAA | Complete Results
Players to Watch:
Tarik Hislop... 5-7 junior guard... team-high 14.8 ppg, team-high 3.4 assists per game... All-CAA Second Team
Kirby Burkholder... 6-0 sophomore guard... 11.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, team-high 1.8 steals per game... All-CAA Third Team... averaging 18.0 ppg in the WNIT
Lauren Whitehurst... 6-2 redshirt-senior center... 9.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, team-high 1.8 blocks per game... school season blocks record (65)... CAA All-Defensive Team
Nikki Newman... 6-2 junior forward... team-high 7.8 rpg... CAA Defensive Player of the Year
Jasmine Gill... 6-1 redshirt-junior guard... 9.2 ppg ... preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention
Of Note: This marks the seventh straight year that JMU has won at least 24 games and has advanced to postseason play... JMU's seven consecutive postseason tournament appearances include NCAA tournament games in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and WNIT play in 2006, 2008 and 2009... Dukes ranked fifth in NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (33.6).