For the second year in a row, the Maine women’s basketball team will open play in the WNIT on the road.

The Black Bears learned late Monday that their bid to host a first-round game in the 64-team tournament was denied, and instead they will travel to face Quinnipiac on Friday.

Maine (26-8) was the automatic qualifier from the America East Conference for the tournament based on sharing the league title with Albany. The Great Danes defeated the Black Bears 59-58 on Friday to earn the conference’s bid to the NCAA tournament and put Maine back into the WNIT.

Last year Maine lost a first-round game at Villanova.

This season the university agreed to pay the $6,500 to host a first-round game but could only play at Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday because a boat show is being held in the Bangor facility all weekend. If Maine defeats Quinnipiac, the school will try to host a second-round game, which could be played anytime from Sunday through March 22.

The Maine-Quinnipiac winner will face the winner of a game between Temple and Drexel.

Quinnipiac (24-8) had a 19-game winning streak snapped in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship game last Monday, falling 57-41 to Iona. That loss also occurred in Albany, New York, where Maine’s 14-game winning streak ended with a loss to the host Great Danes.

Quinnipiac is located in Hamden, Connecticut. The time for Friday’s game will be revealed Tuesday.

For Maine’s eight seniors, not being guaranteed another game at CIC where they went undefeated this season, is a disappointment. Coach Richard Barron did not want to comment on the decision Monday.

The Bobcats went 12-1 at home this season and are led by senior guard Maria Napolitano at 10.7 points per game.


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