INDIANAPOLIS — Attempting to capture a record 12th national championship overall while going undefeated for the seventh time, the UConn Huskies were named the top seed of the 64-team field for the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee awarded No. 1 seeds to UConn (32-0), Mississippi State (32-1), Louisville (32-2) and Notre Dame (29-3). All four schools come into the tournament having won or shared in their respective conference regular-season championships. UConn and Louisville also won the American Athletic Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles, respectively.
The most decorated women’s basketball program in history, UConn was shocked a year ago, when the Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Huskies, 66-64 in overtime in the national semifinals at the 2017 Women’s Final Four in Dallas. The loss broke a 111-game winning streak for UConn and ended a string of four consecutive national championships for the Huskies.
A No. 1 seed for the first time in school history, Mississippi State is seeking its first national championship. Louisville was a runner-up for the national championship in both 2009 and 2013, while Notre Dame has played in five of the last seven Women’s Final Four’s. The Irish claimed the 2001 national title.
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Tennessee continues its appearance streak and remains the only school to participate in all 37 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships since its inception in 1982. On the other end of the spectrum, Nicholls State, Northern Colorado, Mercer and Seattle are all making their first NCAA tournament appearance.
Thirty-two conferences were granted automatic bids for the championship and the remaining 32 teams were selected at-large.
The first and second rounds of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship will be played March 16-19 on the home courts of the top 16 seeds. Regional action will take place March 23-26, with Kansas City, Missouri, (Sprint Center) and Lexington, Kentucky, (Rupp Arena) hosting on March 23 and 25, while Albany, New York, (Times Union Center) and Spokane, Washington, (Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena) will host regional games on March 24 and 26. The 2018 Women’s Final Four will be held March 30 and April 1 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
In the 36-year history of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, 15 schools have captured the national title. UConn leads the way with 11 national championships, followed by Tennessee with eight. South Carolina, a No. 2 seed, is the defending national champion after claiming the 2017 title in Dallas with a 67-55 win over Mississippi State.