NCAA tournament field features UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland as top seeds
Top-ranked Connecticut enters the women’s NCAA tournament as the overall top seed. The other teams that follow Connecticut in the national rankings join the Huskies as No. 1 seeds: Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland. Each top seed will begin their quest for a national championship on their home courts facing sixteenth-seeded teams.
All four top seeds won automatic bids to NCAA postseason play by winning their conference tournament championships.
UConn won its second straight American Athletic Conference Championship. The squad enters the tournament as a top seed for the ninth season in-a-row and the 18th time in team history. The Huskies are 79-9 all-time as a No. 1 seed.
Eight of the team’s nine national championships have come when the team began play as a No. 1 seed. The Huskies face the winner of the Northeast Conference, St. Francis Brooklyn.
Notre Dame earned a berth to the tournament for the 20th consecutive season after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship for the second straight year. It is also the fourth consecutive season that the Irish have earned a top seed. They host the winner of the Big Sky Championship, Montana.
“I think it’s critical for us to be at home,” said Irish head coach Muffet McGraw about playing in Purcell Pavilion. “It eases everybody’s mind. There’s that comfort feeling, you’re in your own locker room, you’re in your own bed at night, and you’ve got your fans. That’s the biggest thing for us, the fans.”
South Carolina had a banner regular season capped by claiming the program’s first-ever SEC tournament title. The Gamecocks also repeated as the regular season champions. In addition, they were the top-ranked team in the nation for 12 weeks. This is the fourth year in a row that the Gamecocks will participate in the tournament, matching the longest streak in program history (1988-91).
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is happy that her team is hosting but stressed that her squad needs to concentrate on advancing past the first two games.
“If we take care of what we need to take care of in the first and second rounds, I’ll know they’ll take care of the regionals,” said Staley.
As a new member of the Big Ten, Maryland cruised through conference play undefeated to earn the regular season and tournament title.
“I think it shows that we had a really consistent season, especially when you go undefeated and win your conference tournament,” said Frese about her team’s accomplishments. “At this point however, none of that matters because you just have to be able to come out and play your best basketball. Regardless, it’s nice to have Maryland basketball be recognized as a number one seed.”
This year’s No. 1 seed for the Terps is the fourth in program history and third under Frese. Overall, the team has earned an NCAA berth 23 times. Last year Maryland advanced all the way to the Final Four. The Terps play the winner of the Western Athletic Conference title, New Mexico State, in the first round.
In the history of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, 14 schools have captured the national title. UConn leads the way with nine national championships, followed by Tennessee with eight. UConn is the defending national champion after claiming the 2014 title in Nashville with a 79-58 win against Notre Dame in the title game, capping a perfect 40-0 season.
|School||Conference||Previous Tournament Appearances||Wins||Losses||Previous Tourney Year|
|Boise State||Mountain West||2||0||2||2014|
|Cal State Northridge||Big West||2||0||2||2014|
|Florida Gulf Coast||Atlantic Sun||2||0||2||2014|
|Florida State||Atlantic Coast||13||14||13||2014|
|George Washington||Atlantic 10||15||18||15||2008|
|Iowa State||Big 12||15||17||15||2014|
|Miami (Fla.)||Atlantic Coast||9||4||9||2013|
|New Mexico State||Western Athletic||2||0||2||1988|
|North Carolina||Atlantic Coast||25||45||24||2014|
|Notre Dame||Atlantic Coast||21||46||20||2014|
|Ohio State||Big Ten||21||23||21||2012|
|Oklahoma State||Big 12||12||10||12||2014|
|St. Francis (Brooklyn)||Northeast||None||0||0||—|
|Seton Hall||Big East||2||3||2||1995|
|South Dakota State||Summit||5||1||5||2013|
|South Florida||American Athletic||2||1||2||2013|
|Tennessee State||Ohio Valley||2||0||2||1995|
|Western Kentucky||Conference USA||17||17||17||2014|
|Wichita State||Missouri Valley||2||0||2||2014|