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Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
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Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/14/2011
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MOSCOW, Idaho - For the first time in 25 years, the Idaho women's basketball team is heading to the postseason.

The Vandals will put their three-game postseason winning streak on the line on March 17 against South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D., in the second annual Women's Basketball Invitational.

Idaho earned the No. 2 seed in the eight-team West Region of the tournament. The winner of Idaho's game at South Dakota will take on either Northern Colorado or Cal. State Bakersfield.

No current Vandal player was alive in 1986, the last time Idaho earned a postseason berth. Idaho beat Fresno State, Notre Dame and Northwest Louisiana to win the WNIT that year. Idaho's only other trip to the postseason was an NCAA bid in 1985, where the Vandals lost in the first round to Southern California.

 "It's an unbelievable achievement for our basketball team, the program and the University of Idaho to be in the postseason for the first time in 25 years," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "It's a tremendous achievement and something we're extremely proud of."

The Vandals are coming off a Western Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals appearance, and are 15-15 overall heading into the WBI.

Idaho is the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the 16-team tournament, which features east and west regions with eight teams on each side. All games in the tournament will be played on campus sites.

2010-11 is Idaho's first 15-win season since the 2004-05 team went 19-11. Idaho has won 39 games over the last three years, the programs highest three-year win total since 2006. Five Vandal seniors who helped Idaho rebound from a 4-25 season in 2007-08 will be seeing their final action in an Idaho uniform, and with four wins, can go out as champions.

"I think it's a great reward for those five seniors who have taken this program from the bottom to the postseason in just three years," Newlee said. "It's a great way to finish their careers as Vandals."

The West Region of the 2011 WBI field consists of No. 1 seed Cleveland State (20-11/Horizon League), No. 2 Idaho (15-15/Western Athletic), No. 3 Cal. State Bakersfield (19-11/Independent), No. 4 Eastern Illinois (18-12/Ohio Valley), No. 5 Chicago State (22-9/Great West), No. 6 Northern Colorado (17-13/Big Sky), No. 7 South Dakota (19-11/Great West) and No. 8 IPFW (20-10/Summit).

The East Region consists of No. 1 Wright State (19-12/Horizon), No. 2 University of Alabama-Birmingham (16-15/C-USA), No. 3. Elon (19-12/Southern), No. 4 Sacred Heart (18-12/Northeastern), No. 5 Manhattan (22-9/Metro Atlantic), No. 6 USC Upstate (17-12/Atlantic Sun), No. 7 Central Arkansas (21-11/Southland) and No. 8 Buffalo (16-15, Mid American).

Idaho has never played 13 of the other 15 teams in the tournament. The Vandals are 2-0 all-time against CSU-Bakersfield, including a 69-59 win this season. Idaho is 0-1 all-time against UAB.

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