INDIANAPOLIS -- A mix of experienced programs, teams returning to the tournament field and first-time participants comprise the 64-team field for the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, as announced Monday by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.
Earning No. 1 seeds are UConn (32-1), Notre Dame (31-2), South Carolina (30-2) and Maryland (30-2), each having won their respective conference regular season and tournament championships this season. Two-time defending champion UConn will start the tournament seeking a 10th national championship. Notre Dame, which has played in the past four Women’s Final Fours, is playing for its second national title. A No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year, South Carolina is seeking its first Women’s Final Four appearance. Maryland went undefeated in the Big Ten Conference this season and is seeking its second national championship, with the previous title being won in 2006.
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The field also includes five schools making their first appearance in the tournament this century. New Mexico State’s last tournament appearance was in 1988, while Ohio, Seton Hall and Tennessee State all last participated in 1995. Northwestern returns to the field after having last played in the 1997 championship.
Thirty-two conferences were granted automatic bids for the championship and the remaining 32 teams were selected at-large.
First- and second-round games will be played at 16 home sites Friday, March 20 through Monday, March 23, with the 16 second-round winners moving on to the four regional sites. The Greensboro Regional (Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina) and the Oklahoma City Regional (Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) will be played on Friday, March 27 and Sunday, March 29, while the Albany Regional (Times Union Center, Albany, New York) and the Spokane Regional (Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Washington) will be held Saturday, March 28 and Monday, March 30. The four regional winners will advance to the 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four, April 5 and 7 in Tampa Bay, Florida (Amalie Arena).
Tennessee continues its appearance streak, participating in all 34 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships. American, St. Francis Brooklyn and Savannah State are all making their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Princeton, the Ivy League champion, is the only undefeated team entering the 2015 championship, posting a 30-0 regular season mark.
In the history of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, 14 schools have captured the national title. UConn leads the way with nine national championships, followed by Tennessee with eight. UConn is the defending national champion after claiming the 2014 title in Nashville with a 79-58 win against Notre Dame in the title game, capping a perfect 40-0 season.