Trojan players eager to make noise in NIT

Published 3:55 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Troy women’s basketball team went to practice on Monday afternoon not yet knowing they would be playing another game. By day’s end, the Trojans heard they would be playing in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

The Trojans will host in-state rival UAB this evening beginning at 6 p.m.

For the Trojans, the invite gives them another opportunity to extend their season by another game.

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“It’s a big opportunity,” said Jasmine Robinson. “It’s a big step for us to be able to prove and redeem ourselves.”

The Trojans fell to South Alabama for the second time in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last week. All season long Rigby and the coaching staff failed to speak on the possibilities of making the WNIT, instead focusing on the NCAA Tournament. When that was no longer a possibility, the Trojan players were told they had another opportunity to continue their season.

“We didn’t know,” Robinson. “We looked at Twitter all day, looking at all the automatic qualifiers. Coach Rigby told us we would find out around 8:00 and we were on our toes all day. When she told us in a group message that we made it, that was it for us. We were excited.”

When the Trojans fell to South Alabama, the general thought was that their postseason fate was in jeopardy. The spot in the WNIT gives the Trojan players a second chance.

“It means a lot to us,” Robinson said. “A lot of teams after losing their conference would have been down and out. We are excited.”

The Trojan women basketball program has never hosted a postseason tournament game. They will make history this evening when they tipoff inside Trojan Arena. They hope to make further history with a deep run.

“We have a great fan base,” Robinson said. “They always support us. They keep us going. We love playing at home. We always say we are going to make history and do things that we have never done before and that’s what we are going to do.”

Harriet Winchester is the only holdover from Troy’s last NCAA Tournament team. Like Robinson, Winchester hopes to get the sour taste from the conference tournament out of her mouth.

“I think it means a lot because we didn’t end the way we wanted to,” Winchester said. “This is a chance at redemption and I think we are going to make it through.”

To get redemption, the Trojans are looking to do just one thing.

“Win it all,” Winchester said. “We are happy that it’s at home. It gives us motivation to continue to win.”

The Trojans have never played in the WNIT and Winchester believes a deep run in the tournament will provide positive momentum heading towards next season.

“I think it’s going to be a different experience,” Winchester said. “This is our first time. To win it would give us motivation to win next year.”

Tickets to the game are $5 and free for students. The game can be seen on ESPN+.