UNI's Mikaela Morgan attacks the basket during a March 7 win over Bradley at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls.

CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa will face a familiar foe Friday in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

The 20-12 Panthers are headed to Minneapolis for a matchup against Big Ten opponent Minnesota (20-10) at 6:30 p.m.

UNI is making a trip to a postseason tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.

The Panthers, who fell in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Saturday, were awarded the MVC’s automatic bid into the WNIT after Missouri State and Drake made the NCAA Tournament.

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UNI will be playing in its eighth WNIT with previous appearances in 2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2006, 2003 and 2001. The Panthers are 3-7 all-time in the tournament.

Minnesota started the season 12-0 under first-year head coach Lindsey Whalen, but finished the season with a 20-10 record and closed Big Ten play with a 9-9 mark.

Kenisha Bell leads the Gophers with an 18.8 points per game scoring average, and Destiny Pitts averages 16.0. Taiye Bello adds 9.4 points and 12.2 rebounds per contest.

UNI and Minnesota have met 10 previous times with the Gophers winning all 10 games. The last meeting was a 73-55 Minnesota win in 2014 in Cedar Falls.

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