For the seventh straight year, the Virginia women’s basketball team has missed the NCAA tournament.
The selection show finished minutes ago, and the Hoos (19-12) did not land what would have likely been a No. 10 or 11 seed.
Sixth-year head coach Joanne Boyle’s drought of tournament appearances continues. They will be in the Women’s NIT for the third straight year.
From 1984-2010, the Cavaliers missed the tournament just three times, and averaged more than a win a year (33 total) in that span.
Virginia sat squarely on the bubble going into Monday, ranked at an RPI of No. 53 overall and 37th out of all teams who hadn’t clinched an automatic berth. It was hoped that their comfortable 61-44 win over ninth-seeded Wake Forest in the ACC tournament on March 2 was an insurance win for their tourney hopes, after launching themselves firmly into at least the discussion for an at-large bid with their 60-51 win over then-No. 4 Florida State on Feb. 16.
Behind the “Fantastic Four” first-years – center Felicia Aiyeotan, forward Lisa Jablonowski, and guards Jocelyn Willoughby and Dominique Toussaint - third-years J'Kyra Brown (guard) and Lauren Moses (forward), and fourth-year leading scorer Breyana Mason (guard), Virginia seems to have the pieces all together for the first time under Boyle. However, the puzzle did not come to complete fruition this season.
Even with Mason’s impending graduation, Boyle’s recruiting coups last year of five-stars Willoughby and Toussaint and four-star Aiyeotan have set the stage for the program to potentially return to the upper echelon of the ACC. Although tonight’s news is disheartening for those associated with the program, it stands to reason that better days could be ahead.