We knew we had to wait til Monday afternoon to find out what’s up with the official pairings for the 2022 WNIT, but now we know! YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles will be hosting Ball State at the McGuire Center, and tip off for that game will be at 7pm Central.
Officially, there are not seeds to the WNIT bracket. However, Marquette is the home team in the top game in the quadrant of the bracket that they are in. That certainly implies that they are the #1 seed in the region, but like I said: No official seeds have been handed out.
Ball State went 20-12 this season with an 11-8 record in the MAC. That earned them the #5 seed in the conference tournament, and they upset the #4 and #1 seeds on the way to the title game where they lost by four to #2 seeded Buffalo. They played three games against opponents from high major conferences this season: A 70-56 win on the road over Butler, a 71-67 loss to Texas Tech on a neutral court, and a 64-54 loss at home to Pitt.
The Cardinals are led by top scorer Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, who went for 11.1 points per game this season. Ally Becki, a 5’8” freshman from Indiana, led the team in rebounding at 5.9 per game as well as in assists at 4.9 a night. At a glance, according to Her Hoop Stats, Ball State is a much better team on offense (#58 in the country in Offensive Rating) than they are on defense (#197 in Defensive Rating), so that would provide an interesting test for the Golden Eagles. Marquette is top 50 in defense, and just barely outside the top 100 on offense.
The winner of the Marquette/Ball State game is slated to advance to the Round of 32 where they will face either Southern Illinois or Purdue. The Boilermakers are the host for that first round game, so we’ll give the early edge to them there. I have to say, whether it’s just by geographic coincidence or on purpose, pitting Karissa McLaughlin and her Purdue record for three-pointers made in a career against her alma mater in the second round would certainly be interesting to say the least.
In other Big East news, Seton Hall is the only other conference rival in the WNIT. The Pirates will be hosting Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round, and that game will be on Thursday night at 6pm Central.
You can check out the entire bracket right here.