Maryland, USC, Syracuse Among Those On Outside Looking in
Granted, the Terps (19-12) lost 4,000 points of offense, when Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman graduated from last year's team, but Maryland did itself no favors by finishing ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 5-9 league mark.
"From our end the only ones to blame is us in terms of not being able to see things through," said Frese last night. "At the same point, with this young team, to be able to grow and develop like they did and win 19 games and still have an opportunity to play in postseason in the WNIT is a chance for us to continue to practice and develop."
The 10-member NCAA women's basketball committee made interesting choices across the nation in distributing 33 at-large bids.
The panel extended two of the last bids to Green Bay (27-4) of the Horizon League and to Arkansas-Little Rock (26-6) of the Sun Belt, while leaving out such notable teams as Southern California (19-12), Syracuse (22-10), Boston College (17-15) and Wake Forest (18-13).
Jane Meyer, the senior women's administrator and chair of the women's basketball committee, said Green Bay and Arkansas-Little Rock, which received its first ever bid, were singled out for their willingness to schedule tough teams and their success against those schedules.
Green Bay, for instance, was 5-0 against the RPI top 100. It beat Wisconsin, DePaul, Marquette and Butler and was 4-1 against NCAA tournament teams.
Arkansas-Little Rock, meanwhile, won their division in the Sun Belt and beat Middle Tennessee State in the regular season, but lost to the Raiders in the conference title game.
"As the committee deliberated, they felt like they took very good care of what they could control within their conference and had the opportunity to schedule in their non-conference and did reasonably well there," said Meyer.
On the flip side, Meyer said Syracuse's non-conference strength of schedule ranked them 340, which, added to their bad losses within the Big East to South Florida, Cincinnati and Villanova, kept them out.
Though Southern California went 12-6 in the Pac-10 and reached the league tournament semifinals, the Trojans went only 2-7 against teams ranked in the RPI top 25. As a whole, the Pac-10 received only one at-large bid, UCLA, the worst showing in the league in nine years.
The committee did some interesting twists and turns to get five at-large bids from the ACC. While Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia were locks, the committee tapped North Carolina State and North Carolina from a pool of five teams, leaving out Boston College, Maryland and Wake Forest.
Meanwhile, the Terps split with North Carolina, beating them in the ACC tournament.
However, the Tar Heels, who played a tougher non-conference slate, beat Duke in the regular season finale, while Maryland dropped three meetings to the Blue Devils.
"We felt like if we could have beaten Duke once, we would have gotten in," said Frese.