NEW YORK – UConn, Notre Dame and Louisville are No. 1 seeds in the women’s basketball NCAA tournament.
The Huskies enter as the lone unbeaten team and will be vying for their 12th national championship. Last season, UConn came into the NCAAs as the overwhelming favorite before losing to Mississippi State in the Final Four that ended their 111-game winning streak.
This year’s Final Four is in Columbus, Ohio, and will take place on March 30. The national championship game is on April 1.
Defending national champion South Carolina and A’ja Wilson await as a possible Elite Eight matchup for UConn in the Albany Regional. The Gamecocks are the two-seed.
UConn, which has been a No. 1 seed every year since 2007, opens up against 16-seed Saint Francis, Pa., on Saturday morning.
Like the Huskies, the Irish are a No. 1 seed again. Notre Dame has been a top-seed the last seven years. This might be one of coach Muffet McGraw’s finest accomplishments as Notre Dame lost four pivotal players to injury, but only three games on the season. Two of those losses came to the Cardinals.
The Irish are in the Spokane Regional and open up against Cal State Northridge on Friday. If Notre Dame advances, the Irish would head out west to potentially face No. 2 seed Oregon if the seeds hold. The Ducks made one of the great runs last year reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
“We wouldn’t be in that kind of position if we didn’t have a great year and we hope to keep that going,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “The growth of our program at this time last year, we were hoping to have done enough to get in. It’s funny how things changed in a year.”
The Ducks potentially could stay out west and play in Spokane, where Graves spent many years as Gonzaga’s coach.
Louisville won the ACC for the first time this season and earned its first No. 1 seed. The Cardinals open up against Boise State. The Lexington Regional is stacked with former NCAA Tournament winners with Baylor the two-seed, Tennessee the three and Stanford the four.
While the Lady Vols have been in the NCAA Tournament every year since it began in 1982, Nicholls State, Northern Colorado, Mercer and Seattle will making their first appearance.