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at Illinois-Chicago
What: Women’s Basketball Invitational, first round
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

IPFW women get one more chance to shine

It looks as if basketball season isn’t quite finished with the IPFW women, either.

One night after the Tournament picked the IPFW men to play host to Mid-American Conference school Akron in a first-round game Wednesday at the Gates Center, the women were selected to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

The Mastodons (15-14) will play at the University of Illinois-Chicago at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

IPFW lost to Denver, 79-73, in the Summit League tournament quarterfinals a week ago, with two-time conference Player of the Year Amanda Hyde scoring 28 points in what presumably was her last game. But Hyde and the rest of the Mastodons, who finished third in the conference this season, will get at least one more chance against a UIC team that went 22-9 and 10-6 in the Horizon League.

“I know it’s a good basketball team,” IPFW coach Chris Paul said. “We’ve been following the teams in Midwest area throughout the year, and we knew they had a pretty good year. They’ve got some size and a young lady who transferred from Louisville (5-7 guard Rachel Story) playing for them now, and they’re gonna present an inside presence we’re really gonna have to pay attention to.”

Story (18.0 ppg), Ruvanna Campbell (16.3) and Katie Hannemann (14.5) lead the team in scoring. The Flames also have a Fort Wayne connection: Sophomore forward Imani Moore, who averages 8 minutes and 2.0 points, played her high school ball at Wayne.

The WBI was created in 2009 by Sports Tours, and this will be its fifth year. Appalachian State (2010), UAB (2011), Minnesota (2012) and Detroit (2013) are its previous champions.

For Paul and IPFW, it represents one more chance to end the season right.

“It’s a tremendous feeling,” said Paul, noting that four Summit League teams – conference champ South Dakota, South Dakota State, IUPUI and IPFW – got postseason berths in the NCAA, WNIT or WBI. “We have an opportunity to be around some really, really good people who’ve been accomplishing some good things for us, and we can redeem a poor first half against Denver. Now we get a second chance, and that’s the beauty of it.”