Southern University women's basketball team will make its fourth trip in the program's history to the Women's National Invitational Tournament when the Jaguars face the University of Alabama Crimson Tide Wednesday, March 14, the WNIT selection committee announced late Monday night.

Southern University (17-13) is one of 32 automatic qualifiers in the field of 64.

This year’s WNIT appearance by the Jaguars will mark the eighth postseason tournament berth in 18 seasons for Southern head coach Sandy Pugh, who was named the 2018 SWAC Coach of the Year.

Led by SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Briana Green (17.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.5 SPG, 49.1% FG) and fellow senior Samantha Duncan (11.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG), the Jaguars boast one of the best turnover margins in the nation (+5.67; 17th-best). 

Southern seeks to become the second SWAC school in as many seasons to win a postseason game in the modern era. Grambling State, the 2017 SWAC Women's Tournament runner-up, defeated Ole Miss 78-75 last year in the first round of the 2017 WNIT. Like Alabama, Ole Miss entered that tournament with a 17-13 record.

The Jaguars earned the Southwestern Athletic Conference automatic bid after winning the league's regular season championship crown and falling in the SWAC tournament finals to Grambling State University 72-68 on Saturday.

Southern will face SEC foe Alabama. The Crimson Tide (17-13) finished eighth in conference play and defeated SWAC members Alabama A&M and Grambling State during non-conference play.

The Crimson Tide is 3-0 in series history, which dates back to 1985. The last meeting between the two schools ended in a 66-51 Southern loss on December 29, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

First-round action begins Wednesday, March 14 and continues through Friday, March 16. Round 2 games take place March 17-20; Round 3 games are March 21-23, Round 4 runs March 24-26, and the semifinals are March 28-29. The championship game will be held at 3 p.m. ET on March 31 and televised on CBS Sports Network. All games are hosted by participating schools.

Tournament officials award an Automatic Qualifying berth to each of the nation’s 32 conferences. The spot goes to the team that finishes the highest in the regular-season conference standings that do not advance to the NCAA Tournament. If there is a tie, the WNIT abides by the conference tiebreaker. A team earns the AQ berth regardless of its overall record. A total of 32 teams are then given an At-Large berth; a team must have an overall record of .500 or better to be considered.

General admission tickets are currently on sale for $5.

The ticket office, located at the north entrance of Coleman Coliseum, is scheduled to open 90 minutes prior to tip on Wednesday.

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