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March 14, 2011

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina has earned the SEC’s automatic berth in the Women’s NIT, the organization announced late Monday night. The Gamecocks will host Appalachian State on Wed., March 16, at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena with the winner facing either Charlotte or Liberty. This is the Gamecocks’ first postseason appearance under head coach Dawn Staley, who has steadily improved the program’s record over her three seasons at the helm.

“We’re happy to be able to play into the postseason this year, although it is bittersweet in that it wasn’t our primary objective,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “We felt like we had a good enough resume to be in the discussion for the NCAA Tournament, and I feel like we were. That said, we are one of a lot of good teams in the WNIT field, and we are excited to get started this week.”

South Carolina is 17-14 overall after going 8-8 in the SEC, its best league record since the 2005-06 team turned in a 7-7 slate. The Gamecocks finished the regular season tied for fifth in the SEC, their best placing since 2002-03. Staley’s team played 15 teams ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA’s latest RPI ratings and suffered just two losses to teams ranked outside the RPI top 50.

South Carolina has played in the Postseason WNIT three times prior to this season’s selection. The Gamecocks made their WNIT debut in 2005-06 and earned a bid the following two years for a combined 2-3 record in the event.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday morning and are $8 for adults and $5 for 17 years old or under. All seats are general admission.