The streak continues.
For the eighth consecutive season, the Big 12 placed at least six teams in the women’s NCAA Tournament bracket that was announced Monday night. Since 2007, the Big 12 is the only conference with at least six teams in the bracket every year. Now here’s a look at where the Big 12’s six teams are bracketed.
Baylor and West Virginia, which shared the regular-season title, each were awarded with No. 2 seeds. Oklahoma State and Texas were both pegged as No. 5 seeds while Iowa State is a No. 7 seed and Oklahoma is a No. 10.
The Lady Bears (29-4) have reached the Sweet 16 in five consecutive seasons. They’re hosting the opening weekend and will face No. 15 seed Western Kentucky in the Notre Dame Regional. Notre Dame is the top seed and along with defending national champion Connecticut is undefeated this season.
“You never want to be in a region where you have to go and beat someone on their home floor, but we are not going to worry about that at this point,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “We're going to think about Western Kentucky.”
Mulkey will not coach against the Hilltoppers. She is suspended for the first round game against for comments she made last season after losing to Louisville in the regional semifinals.
"I haven't talked to the team in depth about me not coaching in the first game," Mulkey said. "I'll watch it on television at home. ... I always tell the team something could happen to me on that sideline and you should be able to coach yourself."
West Virginia is the No. 2 seed in the Louisville Regional and is making its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh in the last eight seasons. Coach Mike Carey is happy his team wasn’t placed in the half of the bracket with No. 1 seed Tennessee.
“Let’s thank the committee,” said Carey, whose team travels to Baton Rouge, La., for the first weekend. “For us to get a two seed, that was great. I thought we might be a three seed after losing the Baylor game, but I think the committee saw what we did throughout the course of the year.
“We have to go out there and we’re going to have to play on some home floors, but we knew that. This team, for some reason the last two years, has played better away from home than they have at home.”
If West Virginia wins its opener with Albany, it could face No. 7 seed LSU on its home court.
Here’s a capsule breakdown for the Big 12’s six NCAA Tournament teams, focusing on their opening opponents.
Notre Dame Regional
10 a.m. Saturday, West Lafayette, Ind.
No. 5 Oklahoma State (23-8) vs. No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (26-7)
Opponent FYI: Florida Gulf Coast is making its second NCAA Tournament. The first came two years ago and the Eagles were a No. 12 seed then. Florida Gulf Coast has an RPI of 54 and has won at least 20 games in 10 consecutive seasons. Senior Sarah Hansen was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year for the second-straight year and earned a position on the All-Conference First Team for the third-consecutive year. She averages 13.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Hansen is also one of six players on the team that has made at least 33 3-pointers.
What’s next: Winner plays on Monday against the winner of No. 4 Purdue and No. 13 Akron.
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Waco
No. 2 Baylor (29-4) vs. No. 15 Western Kentucky (24-8)
Opponent FYI: Western Kentucky won the Sun Belt Conference tournament and automatic bid in dramatic fashion, scoring 18 of the final 22 points to beat Arkansas State. The Hilltoppers are making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance but first since 2008. Western Kentucky reached the Final Four in 1985, 1986 and 1992. The Hilltoppers have won 10 in a row. They have won 20 games in back-to-back seasons after winning just nine games in 2011-12. Western Kentucky has five players averaging double figures, led by Chastity Gooch. The 6-foot junior forward is averaging 18.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
What’s next: Winner plays on Monday against the winner of No. 7 California and No. 10 Fordham.
2 p.m. Sunday, College Park, Md.
No. 5 Texas (21-11) vs. No. 12 Pennsylvania (22-6)
Opponent FYI: In Penn’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001, the Quakers were a No. 15 seed and lost to Texas Tech in Lubbock, 100-57. Penn has tied a school record for victories in a season and the 40 victories the last two seasons match the program’s best-ever two-year stretch. Senior Alyssa Baron was named Ivy League Player of the Year, while freshman Sydney Stipanovich was named Ivy League Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year. Baron averages 14.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Stipanovich ranks sixth in the nation in blocked shots and set a school single-season record.
What’s next: Winner plays on Tuesday against the winner of No. 4 Maryland and No. 13 Army.
2 p.m. Sunday, Baton Rouge, La.
No. 2 West Virginia (29-4) vs. No. 15 Albany (28-4)
Opponent FYI: Albany became just the fourth program in America East Conference history to capture three-straight tournament titles, winning the league’s automatic bid with a 70-46 victory over Stony Brook. The Great Danes led the America East in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense. They have won 19 of their last 20 games and will be seeking their first NCAA Tournament victory. Albany’s men’s team also made the NCAA Tournament bracket. Shereesha Edwards, a 6-1 sophomore, leads the team in scoring (20.3 per game) and rebounding (9.0 per game).
What’s next: Winner plays on Tuesday against the winner of No. 7 LSU and No. 10 Georgia Tech.
3 p.m. Saturday, Ames, Iowa
No. 7 Iowa State (20-10) vs. No. 10 Florida State (20-11)
Opponent FYI: Florida State won 14 of its first 15 games to rise to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll in early January before losing six out of seven. FSU closed out the season by winning five of eight games before losing to No. 2 Notre Dame 83-57 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Natasha Howard, a 6-3 senior, is the Seminoles’ leading scorer at 21.2 points per game. The Seminoles are making their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 10 seasons and has won at least one game in 10 consecutive NCAA appearances.
What’s next: Winner plays on Monday against the winner of No. 2 Stanford and No. 15 South Dakota.
12:30 p.m. Saturday, Durham, N.C.
No. 10 Oklahoma (18-14) vs. No. 7 DePaul (27-6)
Opponent FYI: DePaul is making its 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Blue Demons have won seven straight and 16 of its last 17 games. DePaul is fifth in Division I the country in scoring at 83.4 points per game and second in the country with 12 steals per game. The Blue Demons lost to Oklahoma State in last year's NCAA first round, also at Durham, N.C. DePaul is led by Jasmine Penny, a 6-1 senior forward who averages 15.8 points per game, and junior guard Brittany Hrynko, who averages 12.5 per game and leads the team with 187 assists.
What’s next: Winner plays on Monday against the winner of No. 2 seed Duke and No. 15 seed Winthrop.