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March madness has DC flavor with NCAAs, NIT

Four local women teams were invited to play in post season basketball tournaments with the opener March 19 at 7 pm. George Washington hosts East Carolina to the Charles E. Smith Center March 19 for the first round of the Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Tipoff is slated for 7 pm.

GW (21-10) makes its first postseason appearance since 2009 after receiving a WNIT at-large bid. The Colonials are making their fourth trip (1993, 2002, 2009) to the WNIT.

East Carolina (22-8) earned an at-large bid to the WNIT for the second year in a row after losing five of their last six contests, including an 87-75 loss to 13th-seeded Florida International in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament. The other first-round matchup is between Villanova and Quinnipiac, which takes place Wednesday at 7 pm in Philadelphia.

Game date and location for second-round games have not yet been announced. Villanova (22-8) earned an at-large bid out of the Big East, while Quinnipiac (21-12) is an at-large team from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference .

This year’s NIT field ties the record set in 2013 for the most teams that were crowned regular-season champions in their respected conferences – including Navy (Patriot). In addition, 35 teams in the field enter postseason play with 20 or more wins.

The Middies set sail for Old Dominion Thursday at 7 pm. Tickets are $7. Navy garnered the Patriot League’s automatic berth by their earning the first league regular season title in school history with a 15-3 record in league games. Navy is one of 10 regular season champions and one of 35 teams with at least 20 victories (24-7) playing in the 64-team field.

The Lady Monarchs posted an overall record of 17-15 this season and tied for sixth place in Conference USA with a mark of 9-7. Old Dominion closed the season with an 8-3 record over its last 11 games.

American will face Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J., March 20. American finished tied for second in the Patriot League regular season with a mark of 14-4 and finished 22-9 overall, its first 20-win season since 2011-12. The Eagles advanced to the Patriot League Semifinals where it fell to eventual champion Army, 68-55.

AU faced three 2014 NCAA Tournament selections and four 2014 WNIT participants in its regular season. This is the team’s fifth WNIT appearance and its first-ever at-large bid. Seton Hall finished 18-13 overall this season and went 8-10 in the Big East. The Pirates advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell, 66-60, to St. John’s.

Dancin’ Darlings

NCAA AP’s 11th-ranked Maryland opens the March madness dance 12:30 pm March 23 when the Terps welcome Army to Comcast Center. First Round games will be played in College Park March 23 at 12:30 pm and 3 pm and the Second Round one games will be played in College Park March 25 at 7 pm.

Fifth-seeded Texas (21-11) and Ivy league champion Penn (22-6) play at approximately 3 pm Sunday. The winners of Sunday’s games will advance to Tuesday’s 7 pm. Second Round contest in College Park as well. All three games will be shown on the ESPN networks. The Terrapins are in the Louisville regional, in which Tennessee is the No. 1 seed.

Tickets for the First and Second Rounds in College Park start at $12 for a single session general admission ticket and go up to $30 for an all-session reserved seat.