March 14, 2007
Columbia, S.C. – After enjoying a bye in the first round of the Women’s NIT, South Carolina will host the winner of Thursday’s Hartford vs. Bucknell game at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Colonial Center, it was announced today. South Carolina’s players and coaching staff will hold a free clinic for high school and middle school players and coaches on the Colonial Center floor after the game.
The Gamecocks (17-14 overall) are making their fourth trip to the post-season in the last six years, as Carolina competed in the Elite Eight at the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2003 to go with Women’s NIT appearances in 2006 and 2007. Carolina won the 1979 Women’s NIT (then referred to as the NWIT) by claiming wins over California, Oregon and Drake in the tournament that year.
Both Hartford and Bucknell won their respective league titles this year, with Hartford compiling a 24-8 overall record to go with a 15-1 mark in America East Conference play and Bucknell going 20-12 overall and 15-2 in the Patriot League. Both teams were upset in their respective conference tournaments, with Hartford losing a 48-46 shocker to Maryland-Baltimore County and Bucknell stumbling to a 69-62 defeat at the hands of Colgate.
Hartford is coached by former Connecticut point guard Jennifer Rizzotti, who had several memorable head-to-head clashes during her playing days with South Carolina assistant Michelle Marciniak during Marciniak’s time as a player at Tennessee. Rizzotti’s Huskies claimed a 70-64 win over Marciniak’s Lady Vols in the 1995 National Championship game, with Marciniak and crew returning the favor the next year, knocking Rizzotti and her squad out of the 1996 Final Four with an 88-83 overtime win in the semifinal round.