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BYU Women’s Basketball Hoping For Invite From New WBIT Or WNIT

Mar 17, 2024, 2:39 AM

BYU Women's Basketball, Lauren Gustin, WBIT, WNIT...

BYU women's basketball star Lauren Gustin wants to continue playing in either the WBIT or WNIT. (Aaron Cornia/BYU Photo)

(Aaron Cornia/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s basketball had a lackluster finish to its season.

The Cougars finished 16-16 overall and 6-12 in their inaugural year in the Big 12 Conference. But their last two outings were blowouts.

The first was against eventual Big 12 Tournament Champion Texas in Austin on March 2. Then, a 77-53 setback against Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City on March 8.

To make matters worse, during the Kansas loss, BYU lost All-Big 12 Honorable Mention guard Kailey Woolston to an injury.

Despite the struggles to close out the year, BYU, led by First Team All-Big 12 forward Lauren Gustin, wants to keep playing.

The NCAA runs the new WBIT

BYU isn’t an option for the NCAA Tournament. However, the new NCAA-sanctioned WBIT (Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament) or WNIT could be an option.

The NCAA does not run the WNIT.

A total of 80 teams will get opportunities in the WBIT and WNIT. The WBIT will have a 32-team field, while the WNIT will select 48 teams.

“We don’t want to be done yet, so we didn’t have much to say because we’re not done yet,” said BYU forward Lauren Gustin after the loss to Kansas. “We’re hoping to be able to keep playing and we don’t want that to be our last game, so that’s our expectation for this team.”

The NCAA created the WBIT after a recommendation from the 2021 Gender Equity Report that asked for equitable postseason opportunities in women’s basketball as the men’s side (NCAA Tournament and NIT).

BYU women’s basketball wants to play in the postseason

Head coach Amber Whiting completed her second season overseeing the BYU program. Her team matched the 16 wins they earned in her first season as a member of the WCC.

In Whiting’s first season, BYU suffered a first round loss to Rice in the WNIT.

Getting a postseason opportunity could give Whiting’s team a chance to close the season with some momentum as they turn to the future in the 16-team Big 12.

“We would like to,” said Whiting on if BYU will play in the postseason. “I want to get an [injury] evaluation of Woolston and see what’s wrong and how bad that is. As Lauren said, when they love it and love being with each other and around each other, that’s a good thing to come out of the locker room with and have that feeling, so if we can [play], we would like to.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Women’s Basketball Hoping For Invite From New WBIT Or WNIT