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Codi Childs | | February 28, 2023

The closest calls for 14-over-3 NCAA women's basketball tournament upsets

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Since the DI women’s basketball tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994, the No. 3 seed is one of only two seeds to have never been upset in the first round, going 112-0 against No. 14 seeds. 

There have, however, been some close calls, as 17 No. 14 seeds have come within striking distance of history, losing by single digits.

Here are the closest calls for 14-over-3 seeds in NCAA women's basketball tournament history, taken from

Top 5 closest finishes: 

2 points —  (14) Creighton vs (3) St. John's in 2012

After trading baskets throughout a game in which neither team ever led by double digits, Creighton guard Carli Tritz sunk two free throws to tie the game at 67 with just over 5 seconds left to play. On St. John's final possession, guard Nadirah McKenith went the length of the floor, laid the ball up off the glass and into the basket to give the Red Storm the two-point victory. She finished the game with 21 points and scored nine of her team's last 11.

Final score: 69-67
Round where winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

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2 points — (14) Eastern Michigan vs. (3) Boston College in 2004

After trailing by as many as 20 points in the first half, Eastern Michigan's comeback efforts featured two separate 10-0 runs to tie Boston College at 56 with just 15 seconds left in the game. BC forward Kathrin Ress cut backdoor and made the go-ahead layup before the Eagles, well, the ones from Michigan, got the ball back. With 12 seconds left, a 3-point heave from Eastern Michigan guard Ryan Coleman was ultimately unsuccessful and Boston College snuck through to the second round.

Final score: 58-56
Round where winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

2 points — (14) Austin Peay vs (3) North Carolina in 2003

Boulder, Colorado was the setting for one of the closest 14 vs. 3 games in DI women's tournament history. Despite the seeding differential, the teams appeared to been well matched as Austin Peay played with confidence, entering the tournament on a 22-game winning streak. The game was tied six times in the first half and the lead changed seven times. The Governors began the second half on a 16-7 run, which was immediately followed by a 17-3 run by the Heels. With the score tied at 70 as time wound down, Carolina guard Nikita Bell scored the go-ahead bucket with just over 20 second left, securing the victory for UNC.

Final score: 72-70
Round where winner was eliminated: Second round

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3 points — (14) Dartmouth vs. (3) Virginia in 1995

Appearing in its second-ever tournament, Dartmouth’s valiant effort in the first round of the 1995 NCAA tournament almost eliminated the three-seeded Virginia Cavaliers. Both teams were efficient, each shooting 50 perfect from beyond the arc, with Virginia shooting 46 percent from the field to Dartmouth’s 44 percent. The Cavaliers had a glaring advantage on the glass, outrebounding the Ivy League school, 43-27, with +9 differential on the offensive boards (14-5). Cavalier forward Wendy Palmer scored a game-high 26 points and was one offensive rebound away from matching Dartmouth’s offensive rebounding total in the win.   

Final score: 71-68
Round where winner was eliminated: Elite Eight

3 points — (14) Marquette vs. (3) Colorado in 1994

In the inaugural year of the 64-team era, Marquette was four points away from the "14 seed never beating a 3 seed" stat ever existing. The Golden Eagles led by two after the first 20 minutes of play in a game where both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3. Marquette had two players score more than 20 points in Kristen Maskala and Christine ​​​Kennedy. Colorado had two players post double-doubles, as Jamillah Lang had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Erin Scholz had 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Ultimately, the Buffaloes' +11 rebounding total and +15 free-throw total was enough to push the squad to the round of 32. ​​​

Final score: 77-74
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

Here is the complete list:

year score point diff. matchup (14 vs. 3)
2012 69-67 2 Creighton vs. St. John’s
2004 58-56 2 Eastern Michigan vs. Boston College
2003 72-70 2 Austin Peay vs. North Carolina
1995 71-68 3 Dartmouth vs. Virginia
1994 77-74 3 Marquette vs. Colorado
2013 59-54 5 Albany vs. North Carolina
2006 63-58 5 Dartmouth vs. Rutgers
2009 85-80 5 UCF vs. North Carolina
2022 83-77 6 Jackson State vs. LSU
2014 62-56 6 Wichita State vs. Penn State
2022 78-71 7 UT Arlington vs. Iowa State
2007 57-50 7 UC Riverside vs. Arizona State
1999 76-69 7 Green Bay vs. UCLA
2015 75-67 8 American vs. Iowa
2011 55-47 8 Montana vs. UCLA
2002 69-61 8 Liberty vs. South Carolina
1996 83-75 8 Tulane vs. Colorado

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