PROVIDENCE, R.I. –
The BIG EAST Conference placed seven teams in the 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship for the fourth time in Conference history, and for the second straight year. The BIG EAST also earned seven bids in 2009, 2006 and 2003. The BIG EAST, along with the SEC, each had seven berths into this year’s 64-team field. All seven teams will be playing for the rights to go to the Final Four, which is scheduled for the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on April 4 and 6.
Connecticut (33-0) is a No. 1 seed for the fourth straight year and is undefeated heading into the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive time. It marks the Huskies’ 22nd straight NCAA Championship berth and the 13th time as a No. 1 seed. UConn has been ranked No. 1 all season in both national polls and has held the top spot in the Associated Press poll for a record 43 straight weeks. The Huskies went undefeated in league play (16-0) for the eighth time in program history and became the 10th team in the conference to accomplish the feat. UConn has won 72 straight games, an NCAA record, while capturing its 16th BIG EAST Championship title. The Huskies will play at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 16 seed Southern on March 21. UConn is in the Dayton Region of the bracket.
Notre Dame (27-5) is making its 15th straight NCAA Championship appearance, having earned a berth every year since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. It will be Notre Dame’s 17th overall bid. The No. 2 seed is the highest since Notre Dame was a top seed in 2001 when ND won the national title. The Fighting Irish finished tied for fourth in the BIG EAST standings and were the No. 5 seed in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship, falling to top-seeded Connecticut in the semifinals. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 7 in both national polls, and was ranked as high as No. 3 this season. ND will host the NCAA First and Second Rounds at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., facing No. 15 Cleveland State on March 21. Notre Dame is in the Kansas City Region of the bracket.
West Virginia (28-5) earns a berth for the sixth time overall, and the third time in the last four years. As a No. 3 seed, the Mountaineers earn their highest-ever seed in the NCAA Championship since the bracket expanded to 64 teams. Their previous high was a No. 5 seed in 2008. The team grabbed the No. 2 seed, a program high, in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship, falling to top-seeded Connecticut in the tournament final. WVU notched a 13-3 mark in conference play, the most league wins in program history, while also securing 28 overall wins, also a program high. The Mountaineers are currently ranked No. 10 in both national polls. WVU will play at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 14 seed Lamar on March 21. West Virginia is in the Memphis Region of the bracket.
Georgetown (25-6) is a No. 5 seed and returns to the NCAA Championship for the first time since the 1993 tournament, and second time overall. That year the Hoyas advanced to the East Region Finals when the bracket had 48 teams. Georgetown was the No. 3 seed in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship, exceeding all preseason expectations. The Hoyas notched school records in both overall wins (25) and Conference wins (13). The team is currently ranked No. 13 in both national polls, and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. GU will play at the Haas Pavilion in Berkeley Pavilion in Berkley, Calif., for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 12 seed Marist on March 20. Georgetown is in the Memphis Region of the bracket.
St. John’s returns to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2005, and is making its fifth overall appearance. The Red Storm are a No. 6 seed, their highest in program history. St. John’s ended BIG EAST play in a tie for fourth place in the league standings and was the No. 4 seed in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship. St. John’s has been ranked a record-breaking seven-straight weeks and currently stands at No. 15 in the Associated Press poll, tying the program high, and No. 17 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. With 24 wins this year, St. John's has posted its most victories in 26 years (24 in 1983-84) and with 12 wins in BIG EAST action, the Red Storm tripled its four league wins from a year ago and tied the program record set in 1984-85 (12-4). STJ will play at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla., for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 11 seed Princeton on March 20. St. John’s is in the Dayton Region of the bracket.
DePaul (21-11) earns its 15th overall appearance, including eight straight dating back to 2003. The Blue Demons grabbed a No. 11 seed. DePaul ended the BIG EAST regular season winning five straight games and in a tie for sixth place with a 9-7 record. The team was the No. 7 seed in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship, falling to second-seeded West Virginia in the quarterfinals. DePaul has been ranked or receiving votes in all but one week this season between both national polls. DePaul will play at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 6 seed Vanderbilt on March 21. The Blue Demons are in the Sacramento Region of the bracket.
Rutgers (19-14) is selected into the NCAA Championship for the eighth straight year, for the 12th time since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 and the 21st time overall. Rutgers grabbed a No. 9 seed. The Scarlet Knights finished the BIG EAST regular season with a 9-7 mark, tied for sixth place. As the No. 6 seed, RU fell to second-seeded West Virginia in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals. Rutgers has won four of its last five games. Rutgers will play at the Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif., for NCAA First and Second Round action, facing No. 8 seed Iowa on March 20. The Scarlet Knights are in the Sacramento Region of the bracket.
Last year the BIG EAST went 15-6 in NCAA Championship play, including a historic national championship matchup between Connecticut and Louisville with the Huskies winning their sixth national title. The BIG EAST has seven NCAA titles and holds a 168-94 record (.641) all-time in the tournament play.
Late Monday night, five BIG EAST teams were selected to the WNIT field. Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, USF and Syracuse were each picked giving the league 12 postseason berths. A BIG EAST team has won the WNIT each of the last two years (Marquette in 2008 and USF in 2009).