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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The University of Connecticut earned its fifth-straight regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2011 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters, to be held March 4-8 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. In its third year of the 16-team tournament format, the teams will battle in 15 games over five days for the Conference’s automatic NCAA Championship berth.
The 2011 Championship field is based on regular-season league records, with the highest four seeds earning double byes into the quarterfinals on March 6. Teams finishing in spots 5-8 earned first-round byes, while seeds 9-16 will begin play in the first round on March 4.
No. 1/1 Connecticut (29-1, 16-0 BIG EAST) earned its 19th outright regular-season championship. The Huskies went undefeated in league play for the ninth time in program history. UConn is the No. 1 seed in the championship and will play at 2:00 p.m. ET in a quarterfinal game on March 6.
No. 7/7 Notre Dame (24-6, 13-3 BIG EAST) and No. 12/11 DePaul (26-5, 13-3 BIG EAST) battled for the second seed on the final night of the regular season, with the Blue Demons capturing a 70-69 victory to take the second seed. DePaul and Notre Dame both earned a bye to the quarterfinal round on March 6. Rutgers (18-11, 11-5 BIG EAST) earned the fourth seed and a bye to the quarterfinal round.
No. RV/18 West Virginia (22-8, 8-8 BIG EAST) is the No. 10 seed and will play No. 15 seed Cincinnati (9-19, 2-14 BIG EAST) in the first round. The Mountaineers defeated the Bearcats in their regular season meeting 72-44 on Jan. 8. The winner of that game will play No. 7 seed St. John’s (20-9, 9-7 BIG EAST).
No. 9 seed Syracuse (21-8, 9-7 BIG EAST) finished in a three-way tie with St. John’s and Georgetown. The Red Storm won the tie-breaker to take the seventh seed, while the Hoyas sit in eighth. Syracuse will play No. 16 seed Seton Hall (8-21, 1-15 BIG EAST) in the first round on March 4.
The winner of Syracuse/Seton Hall will play No. 8 seed Georgetown (21-9, 9-7 BIG EAST) in the second round on March 5, with the winner facing UConn in a quarterfinal game on March 6.
Pittsburgh (13-16, 5-11 BIG EAST) finished as the No. 12 seed and will play the No. 13 seed USF (12-18, 3-13 BIG EAST) in a first-round match-up on March 4 at noon. The Bulls tied with Villanova at 3-13, but won the head-to-head meeting during the season. Pittsburgh and USF met on Feb. 12 during the regular season, with the Panthers winning 70-66.
The winner of Pittsburgh/USF will play No. 5 seed Marquette (22-7, 10-6 BIG EAST) on March 5. The Golden Eagles, who earned a first-round bye, finished in a tie with Louisville, but won the head-to-head match-up during the regular season. The winner of that game will play No. 4 Rutgers.
No. 11 seed Providence (13-15, 6-10 BIG EAST) will play No. 14 seed Villanova (11-18, 3-13 BIG EAST) in the first round. The Friars defeated the Wildcats 58-53 on Jan. 19 this season. The winner of that match-up will face No. 6 seed Louisville (19-11, 10-6 BIG EAST) in the second round.
Game 5 will be played at 2:00 p.m. and game 6 will be played at noon to maximize television coverage.
Ticket packages to all 15 games of the championship may still be purchased at the reduced price of $99.00 each, which is discounted by nearly one half of the face value. Single-session tickets go on sale on March 1.
To charge tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. In addition, tickets can be purchased online by logging on to the XL Center website at www.xlcenter.com or the Ticketmaster website at www.ticketmaster.com.
Tickets can also be purchased at the XL Center ticket office beginning March 1. Weekday box office hours are Noon-5 p.m. For weekend events, the ticket office will open four hours prior to the start of an event. All ticket purchases are subject to additional convenience fees.
For group sales (10 or more) information and discounts, please contact Cheri Lisko of the XL Center at (860) 548-2000.
2011 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Field
Friday, March 4 - First Round (BE.tv)
Game 1 Noon #12 Pittsburgh vs. #13 USF
Game 2 2 p.m. #9 Syracuse vs. #16 Seton Hall
Game 3 6 p.m. #10 West Virginia vs. #15 Cincinnati
Game 4 8 p.m. #11 Providence vs. #14 Villanova
Saturday, March 5 - Second Round (BETV and BE.tv)
Game 5 2 p.m. #5 Marquette vs. Game 1 winner
Game 6 12 p.m. #8 Georgetown vs. Game 2 winner
Game 7 6 p.m. #7 St. John’s vs. Game 3 winner
Game 8 8 p.m. #6 Louisville vs. Game 4 winner
Sunday, March 6 - Quarterfinals (ESPNU)
Game 9 Noon #4 Rutgers vs. Game 5 winner
Game 10 2 p.m. #1 Connecticut vs. Game 6 winner
Game 11 6 p.m. #2 DePaul vs. Game 7 winner
Game 12 8 p.m. #3 Notre Dame vs. Game 8 winner
Monday, March 7 - Semifinals (ESPNU)
Game 13 6 p.m. Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner
Game 14 8 p.m. Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner
Tuesday, March 8 - Championship (ESPN)
Game 15 7 p.m. Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 winner
BETV – BIG EAST Regional Sports Network; BE.tv – streamed online at www.BIGEAST.tv; All times are Eastern