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Golden Eagles to host Auburn in WNIT opening round Thursday

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team finds itself back in postseason play as it will host Auburn in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Thursday. Tipoff in Eblen Center is set for 7 p.m.

Tickets for Thursday's game go on sale Tuesday at 8 a.m., and can be purchased through TTUsports.com or by calling or visiting the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940).

Tickets are $11 for adults, with the price set by the WNIT. Season ticket holders have until noon Wednesday to renew their reserved seats.

Tech students will be admitted free with a valid TTU ID, with Tennessee Tech student tickets being purchased by donors to the TTU Athletics Association. Students may pick up tickets in advance at the Eblen Center ticket office or at the game, and will enter through the student gate on the north side of Eblen Center next to the Fitness Center.

All other student tickets are $6 each.

"We're excited to be in the WNIT," head coach Sytia Messer said. "It will give our young team valuable experience in the postseason, which is a positive thing."
 
TTU was one of 31 schools to receive an automatic bid to the WNIT due to Tech winning the regular season Ohio Valley Conference championship.
 
This is the fourth time the Golden Eagles have been invited to the WNIT, with the previous three times coming in 1981, 1986 and 2006. Including its four appearances in the WNIT, Tech has reached the postseason 22 times in its history, with 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and eight showings in the AIAW tournament.
 
The Golden Eagles own a 38-29 record in postseason play, including a 3-5 record in eight WNIT games. Their last trip to the WNIT in 2006 saw the Golden Eagles post a 1-1 record with a 56-55 win over Belmont, and an 83-66 loss to Western Kentucky.
 
The Tigers enter the WNIT the owners of a 15-15 record, with an 8-8 SEC record, but have lost four of their last five games. Tech and Auburn had three like opponents during their 2010-11 season including Alabama A&M, Jacksonville State and Kentucky. In four games, the Golden Eagles compiled a 3-1 record against these opponents, while the Tigers went 2-2, with both losses coming at the hands of Kentucky.
 
"Auburn is a good team and very athletic," Messer said. "Their coach, Nell Fortner, is one of the best coaches in the business."
 
Tech and Auburn have squared off just four times, with the Tigers owning the series edge at 3-1. Their last meeting during the 1989-90 season saw Tech come out ahead with a 77-60 victory in Las Vegas.
 
Should the Golden Eagles defeat Auburn, they would move on to the second round to face either Toledo or Delaware.
 
"We want to invite everyone to come out and watch us play Auburn," Messer said. "It's going to be a great up-tempo game."
To view the WNIT Bracket click here