Written By Atlantic Coast Conference
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are among the 64-team field for the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship announced Monday evening.
ACC Champion Duke (29-2, 17-1 ACC) was selected as a No. 2 seed, North Carolina (28-6, 14-4) was tabbed a No. 3 seed and Maryland (24-7, 14-4) earned a No. 4 seed, while Florida State (22-9, 11-7) and Miami (21-10, 11-7) each received a No. 8 seed, which marks the 19th consecutive year that at least four ACC teams have been selected to the NCAA Championship field.
Duke, which will be appearing in the NCAA postseason field for an ACC-best 19th consecutive year, drew the No. 2 seed in the Norfolk Region. Cameron Indoor Stadium will serve as host for the first and second rounds as the Blue Devils will play No. 15 seed Hampton (28-5) on Sunday, March 24. Two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ACC First Team selection Elizabeth Williams (15.2 points, 7 .2 rebounds) and All-ACC Second Team honorees Haley Peters (12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds) and Tricia Liston (13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds) lead Duke, which has advanced to the Sweet 16 14 of the last 15 seasons, including a run to the Elite Eight each of the last three seasons. The Blue Devils, who will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the 20th time overall, owns an all-time record of 49-19 in the Big Dance.
Williams is one of three Wooden Award finalists from the ACC that will compete in the NCAA Tournament, joining Maryland's Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins. The Blue Devils lost All-American point guard Chelsea Gray to a knee injury on Feb. 17. She is also a Wooden Award finalist.
Maryland returns to the NCAA Tournament for the program's 21st all-time appearance and is seeded No. 4 in the Bridgeport Region. The Terrapins own a 31-19 NCAA Tournament record and captured the national championship in 2006. Maryland, which posted a 24-7 mark in regular season play, will play host to 13th-seeded Quinnipiac (30-2), the Northeast Conference Champion, in first-round action Saturday, March 23. If the Terps advance, they will also be at home for the second round on March 25. Maryland is led by two-time ACC Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas (18.4 points, 10.5 rebounds per game) and fellow All-ACC First Team selection and Wooden Award Finalist Tianna Hawkins (18.3 points, 9.5 rebounds).
North Carolina earned a No. 3 seed and will participate in the Big Dance for a league-best 24th time in program history. The Tar Heels, which finished the regular season with a 28-6 mark, including run to the 2013 ACC Tournament final, are led by All-ACC First Team honoree Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 14.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, and ACC Rookie of the Year Xylina McDaniel (12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds). Entering the postseason with a 41-22 all-time NCAA Tournament record, UNC will face No. 14 seed, Albany (27-3) the America East's automatic qualifier, in the Bridgeport region in Newark, Del. The winner will square off against No. 6 seed Delaware or No. 11 seed West Virginia in second-round action. The Tar Heels have advanced to the Sweet 16 Round 15 times and have advanced to the Final Four three times.
In the Oklahoma City region, Florida State makes its 12th NCAA Championship appearance under head coach Sue Semrau. FSU is led by a trio of All-ACC First Team selections, senior guard Leonor Rodriguez (15.1 points, 3.7 rebounds), redshirt senior guard Alexa Deluzio (14.2 points, 4.7 rebounds) and junior guard Natasha Howard (13.0 points, 7.6 rebounds). As a No. 8 seed, FSU will travel to Waco, Texas, to take on No. 9 seed Princeton (22-6), the Ivy League automatic qualifier. The winner of this first-round contest will face either No. 1 seed Baylor or No. 16 seed Prairie View A&M. The Noles own an 12-11 record in NCAA Tournament play and have advanced to the Sweet 16 round twice and earned the program's first-ever Elite Eight showing in 2010.
Earning its third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth is Miami, which grabbed a No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 seed Iowa (24-7), on March 24 in Iowa City, Iowa, in the Norfolk Region. Miami is led All-ACC First Team members seniors Morgan Stroman (12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds) and Stephanie Yderstrom (12.0 points and 1.4 rebounds). The Hurricanes have compiled a 4-8 record in eight previous tournament appearances.
First- and second-round games will be played at 16 sites Saturday, March 23 through Tuesday, March 26. The 16 second-round winners will compete at the four regional sites. The Spokane Regional and the Bridgeport Regional will be played Saturday, March 30 and Monday, April 1, while the Norfolk Regional and the Oklahoma City Regional will be held Sunday, March 31 and Tuesday, April 2. The four regional winners will advance to the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four, April 7 and 9, at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La.
Atlantic Coast Conference