The Huskies (32-0) enter the NCAA tournament as the lone unbeaten team and went wire-to-wire as the unanimous top team. The Lady Bears, who lost just one game all season, instead get a No. 2 seed in Lexington, a region that includes top-seeded Louisville, Tennessee and Stanford.
The NCAA released its brackets for the upcoming women's basketball tournament Monday night, including the Albany Regional.
"We spent nearly seven hours on that decision of who those last four teams in and first four out were", NCAA women's basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett said. "Obviously not", SC coach Dawn Staley said. "And really what does it matter?"
If the Irish wish to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2015, they will likely need to overcome one of the top players and offenses in the nation. That streak was snapped when they were defeated by SC, but that doesn't make what Mississippi State's women have done this year any less remarkable-and the seed reflects that. The schedule we play, I knew we'd get somebody two or three that we already played.
The Irish will begin the tournament by hosting No. 16-seed Cal State Northridge in the opening round Friday. "(Being a No. 1) is quite an accomplishment for what we've been through all year long". The Red Flash beat Robert Morris in Sunday's Northeast Conference Tournament championship game.
"A great reward for this team for what they've been through. playing the toughest schedule and getting a No. 1 seed", McGraw said. "Who else is in, South Dakota State?"
"The assistants will be scouting; they're going to be watching as much film as they can get their hands on", McGraw said. "Good luck with that". The Gamecocks are the No. 2 seed. Purdue and West Virginia are the top seeds.
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Oklahoma got in with a 16-14 record - the fewest wins for an at-large team since 2005 - a day after the Oklahoma men got an at-large berth with an 18-13 record and losses in 11 of their final 15 games.
In the first and second rounds of the women's tournament, games are played on the home courts of the top 16 seeds. This spring marks the first time the team has earned a No. 1 seed, and with both SC and UConn on the opposite side of the bracket in the same region, the Bulldogs wouldn't face either of their toughest opponents until the championship, should they make it. The committee put them in Tallahassee playing Buffalo in the Albany Region, which means they could also end up playing in-state rival Florida State and perhaps UConn for a fourth time.
"We've never been in the West bracket".
That means the second-best women's basketball team in CT will have to go through the best if they want to make another improbably run to the Sweet 16.
Mississippi State lost a year ago to SC in the championship game.
"Our fans will travel very well, because it's right up the road", said QU coach Tricia Fabbri.
"I don't think that after the big loss we had earlier in the season we could have seen this coming", McGraw said.
The Bobcats are now on a 22-game winning streak.