WNIT features first 64-team field

Maryland, Syracuse, Illinois and Arizona State highlight the Women's National Invitational tournament field, which expanded to 64 teams for the first time this year.

The WNIT awarded automatic bids to each of the nation's 31 conferences, giving the spot to the highest finisher in the regular-season conference standings that isn't going to the NCAA tournament.

This year's field features five teams each from the Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic 10 and the Colonial Athletic Association. The Mountain West has four teams, and the Pac 10, Missouri Valley, Mid-American, Conference USA, and ACC have three each.

The Terrapins open up at home on Friday against Iona. The Orange host Harvard on Thursday. Illinois plays on Wednesday against Butler and Arizona State hosts New Mexico State.

The finals will be on April 3.