Women's Basketball: UConn's quest for fifth-straight title begins as NCAA tournament's No. 1 overall seed

Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and Saniya Chong (12) celebrate in UConn's 100-44 win over USF in the American Athletic Conference tournament championship on March 6, 2017. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

To the surprise of no one in the nation, the UConn Huskies (32-0) have been named the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, as they will be the top seed in the Bridgeport Region. Highlighting UConn’s bracket is the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils and the Maryland Terrapins as a No. 3 seed. Joining the Huskies on the one seed line are Baylor, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

The first round matchup for the Huskies in the first round on Saturday, March 18 will be the America East Champion Albany (21-11) at 11 a.m. at Gampel Pavilion. This is the eighth time UConn will be entering the NCAA tournament undefeated as they will look to win their fifth straight National Championship. The Great Danes won their sixth-straight America East title this season as they defeated Maine 66-50 in the championship game.

Potential second round opponents for UConn will be the No. 8 seed Syracuse Orange or the No. 9 seed Iowa State Cyclones as both received at large bids. After falling to UConn in last year’s national championship game, The Orange were the No. 6 seed in the ACC tournament bowing out to the No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils by 22 points. The Cyclones finished 18-12 on the season, as they lost in the quarterfinals to No. 24 Kansas State, 74-67.

Rounding out the top half of the Bridgeport Region are No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 12 Penn and No. 13 Boise State. Both UCLA and Texas A&M received at large-bids while Penn won the inaugural Ivy League tournament and Boise State won the Mountain West Championship.

In the bottom half of the bracket and potential elite eight matchups for UConn is No. 2 seed Duke, No.3 seed Maryland, No. 6 seed West Virginia, No. 7 Temple, No. 10 seed Oregon, No. 11 seed Elon, No. 14 seed Bucknell and the No. 15 seed Hampton. Elon won its first ever CAA championship, while Bucknell, Maryland and Hampton all won their respective tournaments as well.

The big takeaway from the Bridgeport region is the fact that the Maryland Terrapins are a No. 3 seed instead of a No. 2 seed, as they were 30-2 on the season, with losses to the Huskies by six and Ohio State by 11. Maryland won both the Big 10 regular season title and the championship tournament, as they are led by Seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough who are two of 10 players to earn All-America honors by ESPNW.

The No. 2 seed in the region, the Duke Blue Devils, were 27-5 in the regular season as they were lost the regular season and postseason tournament to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. On the year, Duke has two wins over Syracuse, Penn and  Elon.

South Carolina was named a No. 1 seed for the fourth straight season as they will face the UNC Ashville Bulldogs in the first round. The Fighting Irish are joined by No. 2 seed Oregon State and No. 3 seed Florida State.

 In the Oklahoma City Region are the Baylor Bears, who made it to the final four the last time they were in the OKC regional. They will play Texas Southern, the SWAC championships, in the first round, as they are joined by No. 2 seed Mississippi State and No. 3 the Washington Huskies and Kelsey Plum.

 Rounding out the one seeds is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Lexington Region, as they will play the No. 16 seed Robert Morris, the NEC Champion, in the opening round. Joining the Fighting Irish will be No. 2 seed Stanford and the No. 3 seed Texas. 


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.