Despite going undefeated in the regular season the NCAA Women’s Tournament selection committee did Ivy League champion Princeton no favors — the Tigers were given a No. 8 seed and a date with Horizon League champion and No. 9 seed Green Bay in the first round.
Facing an uphill battle, the Tigers cleared the first hurdle, winning 80-70 on Saturday in College Park, Md. But the Tigers lost Monday night to No. 1 seed Maryland, 85-70, their first and only loss this season.
The Terrapins (32-2) advanced to play No. 4-seeded Duke on Saturday in a Spokane Region semifinal while the players on the greatest team in Princeton history (31-1) walked off the court with their heads held high.
“What this team did was, they made history,” said Princeton coach Courtney Banghart. “All you want to do in your life — and I told them that — is to leave a legacy and to do something of impact. And there’s not anyone attached to this team that doesn’t think they did both of those things.”
Winning the A-10 was good for George Washington for seeding but the tournament committee “rewarded” the Colonials with a cross-country trip to Corvallis, Ore., where they lost to No. 11 Gonzaga, 82-69.
Also earning a trip west was Conference USA champ Western Kentucky. After battling Southern Miss in a down-to-the-wire, 60-57 victory, the Lady Hilltoppers earned a 12-seed and nearly upset No. 5 Texas on Friday. The Longhorns advanced to the round of 32 with a 66-64 victory.
With the No. 7 seed in the Spokane Regional, Chattanooga earned its highest seeding ever and a relative home game — but the Mocs lost on Saturday to No. 10 Pitt, 51-40, in nearby Knoxville.
In the Greensboro Bracket, James Madison, the CAA champs and a 12th seed, lost to up-and-coming powerhouse No. 5 Ohio State, 90-80, on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. Upset-minded Liberty fell short Saturday against No. 4 seed North Carolina, losing 71-65 on the Tar Heels’ home court.
The Flyers (27-6), who reached the round of 32 with a 73-66 victory over No. 10 Iowa State on Friday night, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time. They play Louisville (27-6) on Saturday in an Albany Region semifinal. The Cardinals advanced with a 60-52 victory over South Florida on Monday night.