By Sean Greene 11:07pm, March 17, 2014 - Updated 11:57pm, March 17, 2014Delaware women's basketball will participate in its 5th straight postseason when they travel to New Jersey to face Rutgers on Thursday in the opening round of the WNIT.
The Blue Hens will be looking for their first victory in the WNIT in their 7th appearance. Delaware last played in the secondary postseason tournament in 2011, when an Elena Delle Donne squad fell on the road at Toledo 58-55.
Delaware wrapped up a 20-10 regular season with a CAA Championship loss to James Madison on Sunday. They earned the league's automatic bid to the WNIT by finishing with the best conference record of a team not selected to the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers, out of the new American Athletic Conference, finished the season at 22-9 and 10-6 in league play, but did not receive an at-large bid.
Former WDEL High School Athlete of the Week and Smyrna star Betnijah Laney is the third leading scorer on the Scarlet Knights as a junior, averaging 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She earned second-team all-AAC honors.
Delaware Head Coach Tina Martin attempted to recruit the 2011 McDonalds High School All-American, but Laney was swayed to New Jersey by Rutgers' long-time Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer, who is also her Godmother.
Martin says Laney is dangerous: "Betnijah is an athletic 5'11" guard/forward. She can rebound, she runs the floor really well, she has a great mid-range game. She's a tough, tough competitor and a great athlete."
Despite being relatively close by, the Blue Hens and Rutgers last met in the EAIAW Regionals in 1977, a 78-75 Rutgers' victory. Delaware defeated the Scarlet Knights 97-56 the year before in the schools' only other meeting in women's basketball.
The winner of Thursday's game will take on either Iona or Harvard who will also meet in a WNIT first round game Thursday.
Fellow CAA member Drexel won the 2013 WNIT. While no other CAA teams are in this year's Field of 64, College of Charleston earned a bid to the Women's Basketball Invitational as one of the 16-team tournament's two-seeds.
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