What a difference a year makes. Last year, just one team from the New York/New Jersey area made it to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. This year, there are four: Monmouth University, Princeton University, St. John’s University, and Iona University.

Monmouth won its first Colonial Athletic Association Championship and with it the team’s first trip to the big dance in 40 years. The team’s top scorer is graduate student guard Bri Tinsley, who is averaging 12.1 points per game. 

The Hawks take on Tennessee Tech tonight in the round of 68. The winner will face Indiana, the top seed in the Greenville 2 region, on Saturday.

St. John’s University, making its first trip to the tournament since 2016, is also opening play tonight in the round of 68. The Red Storm takes on Purdue University with the winner facing North Carolina on Saturday. Fifth-year seniors Jayla Everett and Danielle Patterson dreamed of finishing their collegiate days with a flourish and they’ll give their best.

Princeton University is making its 11th trip to the Big Dance, taking on North Carolina State tomorrow. Last year, the Tigers upset SEC Champion Kentucky in the first round. The goal is to make more waves. 

In Iona’s first year as a university, the school’s men’s and women’s programs scored trips to their respective NCAA Tournaments. Iona women take on Duke on Saturday.

Four local teams earned berths in the post-season Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Columbia received an automatic qualifier after claiming a share of the Ivy League regular season title. The Lions must shake off a devastating loss to Harvard in the semi-finals of the Ivy League Tournament and focus on surpassing last year’s WNIT run to the final eight.

Other automatic qualifiers for the WNIT are Fairleigh Dickinson and Seton Hall. Fairleigh Dickinson had an outstanding season, going 14–2 in conference play, but lost to Sacred Heart in the NEC Tournament final. Seton Hall had a good, not great season, but scored some solid wins. Last year, the Pirates advanced to the final of the WNIT, and for fifth-year players, the dream is to claim a championship. 

Fordham University received an at-large bid. 

WNIT action began yesterday.

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