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BG faces Drexel in the Sweet 16 round of the WNIT

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Jill Stein attempts a layup against Buffalo during the regular season. She scored a career-high of 16 points against Duquesne this past Saturday.

The next team to challenge the BG women’s basketball team in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament will be the Drexel University Dragons from the Colonial Athletic Association.

Like BG, the Drexel women’s basketball team currently boasts a 24-10 record on the season and has a tradition of post-season appearances.

The Dragons have been invited to the WNIT every season since the 2009-10 season and made it to the NCAA tournament in the 2008-09 season.

However, their success in the post-season has been less than favorable. In 2009-10, the Dragons lost their final four regular season games and the first game of the CAA tournament, but still received an invitation to the WNIT. Drexel was matched against East Carolina University in the first round, but lost 78-76 in overtime.

The following season, the 19-12 Dragons received a WNIT invitation after losing to North Carolina-Wilmington in the second round of the CAA tournament. They were matched against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in the first round and lost 73-67.

This past season, Drexel made it to the CAA tournament championship game, but lost to Delaware, 59-43. The Dragons were then invited to the WNIT, where they defeated Fairfield 57-41 in the first round. Their WNIT run ended in the second round with a 65-43 loss to Syracuse.

The 2012-13 Drexel women’s basketball team has been the program’s most successful in the past 10 years. It nearly took the CAA tournament championship, but fell to the No. 15 Delaware Blue Hens 59-56 in the championship game.

The Dragons defeated Iona (59-50) and Harvard (82-72) in the first two rounds of this year’s WNIT, both of which were hosted by Drexel University.

Drexel has an away record of 9-5 and BG has a 14-4 record when playing at the Stroh Center.

Out of the five Mid-American Conference teams to be invited to the WNIT (Akron, Ball State, BG, Miami and Toledo), three made it to the Sweet 16 round. Akron and Miami both lost in the first round to Duquesne and Illinois respectively.

Ball State travelled to the University of Minnesota for its first match and defeated the Golden Gophers, 54-51. The Cardinals then hosted Northern Iowa in the second round and defeated the Panthers, 53-48. They will travel to Manhattan, Kan., on Thursday for a match against Kansas State University.

Like BG, Toledo has hosted all of its WNIT, which included wins against Butler (63-49) and Youngstown State (61-43). They will host Illinois on Thursday.

With a win against Drexel, BG would look forward to their next matchup against the winner of the Auburn-Tulane game on Thursday.

This postseason has marked the best by the BG women’s basketball program since 2007-08, when the team made it to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

BG’s game against Drexel will tip-off at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Stroh Center.

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