|Current season or competition:
2010 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament
|No. of teams||64|
|Country(ies)||NCAA Division I ( United States)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Connecticut|
|TV partner(s)||ESPN (Championship game)|
The NCAA Women's Division I Championship is an annual basketball tournament for women. Held each April, the Women's Championship was inaugurated in the 1981-82 season. The NCAA tournament was preceded by the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament, which was held annually from 1972 to 1982.
Attendance and interest have grown over the years, especially since 2003, when the final championship game was moved to the Tuesday following the Monday men's championship game. The women's championship game is now the final overall game of the college basketball season.
The tournament bracket is made up of champions from each Division I conference, which receive automatic bids. The remaining slots are at-large bids, with teams chosen by an NCAA selection committee. The selection process and tournament seedings are based on several factors, including team rankings, win-loss records and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) data.
Unlike the men's tournament, there are only 33 at-large bids, and no play-in game. The women's tournament, like the men's, is staged in a single elimination format, and is part of the media and public frenzy known colloquially as March Madness.
All 63 games have been broadcast on television since 2003 on ESPN and ESPN2. Similar to men's tournament coverage on CBS, local teams are shown on each channel when available, with "whip-around" coverage designed to showcase the most competitive contests in the rest of the country.
A total of 64 teams qualify for the tournament played in March and April. 30 of the 64 teams earn automatic bids by winning their respective conference tournaments. Since the Ivy League does not conduct a post-season tournament, the regular-season conference champion receives an automatic bid. The remaining teams are granted "at-large" bids, which are extended by the NCAA Selection Committee.
The tournament is split into four regional tournaments, and each regional has teams seeded from 1 to 16, with the committee ostensibly making every region as comparable to the others as possible. The top-seeded team in each region plays the #16 team, the #2 team plays the #15, etc.
The first NCAA women's basketball tournament was held in 1982. The AIAW also held a basketball tournament in 1982, but most of the top teams, including defending AIAW champion Louisiana Tech, decided to participate in the NCAA tournament.
Prior to 1996, seeding was conducted on a regional basis. The top teams (eight in the 32-, 40-, and 48-team formats, and 16 in the 64-team format) were ranked and seeded on a national basis. The remaining teams were then seeded based on their geographic region. Teams were moved outside of its geographic region only if it was necessary to balance the bracket, or if the proximity of an opponent outside of its region would be comparable and a more competitive game would result. In 1993, the all teams except for the top four were explicitly unseeded. The regional seeding resumed in 1994. In 1996, seeds were assigned on a national basis using an "S-Curve" format similar to the process used in selecting the field for the men's tournament.
A special selection committee appointed by the NCAA determines which 64 teams will enter the tournament, and where they will be seeded and placed in the bracket. Because of the automatic bids, only 33 teams (the at-large bids) rely on the selection committee to secure them a spot in the tournament.
Since the women's tournament began in 1982, 12 teams have entered the tournament ranked #1 in at least 1 poll and gone on to win the tournament:
Since 1982, only once have all #1 seeds made it to the Final Four:
The championship game has matched two #1 seeds eight times:
At least one #1 seed has made the Final Four every year.
3 teams have beaten three #1 seeds during the course of a tournament:
Lowest seeds to reach each round since the expansion to 64 teams:
Since the expansion to 64 teams only one #16 seed has defeated a #1 seed:
No #14 or #15 seeds have made it to the Second Round.
Since the expansion to 64 teams in 1994, each seed-pairing has played a total of 64 first round games.
Seven teams have played the Final Four in their home states. USC (1984) won the national title, while Old Dominion (1983), Western Kentucky (1986), Texas (1987), Penn St. (2000), Missouri St. (2001), and LSU (2004) lost in the Final Four. The biggest advantages came in 1983 when Old Dominion played their Final Four game at Norfolk Scope, their home before the Ted Constant Convocation Center was built; and in 1987 when Texas played their Final Four game at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, their home.
4 championship games have featured two teams from the same conference:
|1982||Louisiana Tech||76-62||Cheyney State||Norfolk Scope (Norfolk, Virginia)|
|1983||USC||69-67||Louisiana Tech||Norfolk Scope (Norfolk, Virginia)|
|1984||USC||72-61||Tennessee||Pauley Pavilion (Los Angeles, California)|
|1985||Old Dominion||70-65||Georgia||Frank Erwin Center (Austin, Texas)|
|1986||Texas||97-81||USC||Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky)|
|1987||Tennessee||67-44||Louisiana Tech||Frank Erwin Center (Austin, Texas)|
|1988||Louisiana Tech||56-54||Auburn||Tacoma Dome (Tacoma, Washington)|
|1989||Tennessee||76-70||Auburn||Tacoma Dome (Tacoma, Washington)|
|1990||Stanford||88-81||Auburn||Thompson-Boling Arena (Knoxville, Tennessee)|
|1991||Tennessee||70-67 (OT)||Virginia||Lakefront Arena (New Orleans, Louisiana)|
|1992||Stanford||78-62||Western Kentucky||Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (Los Angeles, California)|
|1993||Texas Tech||84-82||Ohio State||Omni Coliseum (Atlanta, Georgia)|
|1994||North Carolina||60-59||Louisiana Tech||Richmond Coliseum (Richmond, Virginia)|
|1995||Connecticut||70-64||Tennessee||Target Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota)|
|1996||Tennessee||83-65||Georgia||Charlotte Coliseum (Charlotte, North Carolina)|
|1997||Tennessee||68-59||Old Dominion||Riverfront Coliseum (Cincinnati, Ohio)|
|1998||Tennessee||93-75||Louisiana Tech||Kemper Arena (Kansas City, Missouri)|
|1999||Purdue||62-45||Duke||HP Pavilion at San Jose (San Jose, California)|
|2000||Connecticut||71-52||Tennessee||Wachovia Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)|
|2001||Notre Dame||68-66||Purdue||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, Missouri)|
|2002||Connecticut||82-70||Oklahoma||Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)|
|2003||Connecticut||73-68||Tennessee||Georgia Dome (Atlanta, Georgia)|
|2004||Connecticut||70-61||Tennessee||New Orleans Arena (New Orleans, Louisiana)|
|2005||Baylor||84-62||Michigan State||RCA Dome (Indianapolis, Indiana)|
|2006||Maryland||78-75 (OT)||Duke||TD Banknorth Garden (Boston, Massachusetts)|
|2007||Tennessee||59-46||Rutgers||Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, Ohio)|
|2008||Tennessee||64-48||Stanford||St. Pete Times Forum (Tampa, Florida)|
|2009||Connecticut||76-54||Louisville||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, Missouri)|
|2010||Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)|
|2011||Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Indiana)|
|2012||Pepsi Center (Denver, Colorado)|
|2013||New Orleans Arena (New Orleans, Louisiana)|
|2014||Sommet Center (Nashville, Tennessee)|
|2015||St. Pete Times Forum (Tampa, Florida)|
|2016||Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Indiana)|
|8||Tennessee||1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008|
|6||Connecticut||1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009|
|2||Louisiana Tech||1982, 1988|
|Southern California||1983, 1984|
|Louisiana Tech, Connecticut||10|
|North Carolina, Maryland, Purdue, Old Dominion, Virginia, USC, Texas, Auburn, Western Kentucky||3|
|Rutgers, Notre Dame, Cheyney St., Missouri St., Long Beach St., Oklahoma||2|
|Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville, Ohio St., Iowa, Minnesota, Alabama, NC State, Arkansas,
Michigan St., Penn St.,Louisiana- Monroe, South Dakota State, Vanderbilt