Wildcats Earn At-Large Bid to NCAA Tournament, Will Face Michigan In Opening Game
March 18, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - For the 10th time in program history and the first since 2009, the Villanova women's basketball team earned a big into the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats received an at-large bid to the NCAA field of 64 teams when the tournament bracket was announced Monday evening live on ESPN.
Villanova earned a No. 9 seed in the Spokane Region and will play No. 8 Michigan in the first round on Sunday, March 24th at 7:30 ET on ESPN2. The game will be played at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. With a win over Michigan, the Wildcats would advance to the second round to play the winner of No. 1 Stanford and No. 16 Tulsa.
Senior Laura Sweeney states, "It is an incredible feeling to be in the NCAA Tournament. I am so proud of our team, we've worked really hard for this opportunity and our number one goal all season has been to make the tournament. To have the chance to go dancing is an amazing feeling."
This will be Villanova's 11th postseason appearance in the last 14 years. The stretch includes five berths in the NCAA Tournament and six appearances in the WNIT. In its previous nine trips to the Big Dance, Villanova has tallied a 7-8 record. The Wildcats have advanced to at least the second round in five of the nine NCAA Tournaments. Villanova's best showing came in 2003 when the Wildcats went to the Elite Eight.
Villanova heads to the NCAA Tournament with a 21-10 overall record after going 9-7 in BIG EAST Conference play during the regular season. The 9-7 league mark was good enough for a sixth place tie in the 15 team conference.
The Wildcats are led by fifth-year senior forward Laura Sweeney who leads the team in five statistical categories, including scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (6.9 rpg.), field goal percentage (.520), steals (71) and blocks (59). Senior guard Rachel Roberts ranks second on the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game. Roberts leads the Wildcats in three-point field goals made (62) and minutes played (29.5 mpg.).
Villanova enters the tournament averaging 59.5 points per game and giving up 52.3 points per contest. The Wildcats lead the country in the fewest turnovers per game at 10.6.
Michigan earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament out of the Big 10 Conference and fell in the second round of the conference tournament to Michigan State, 62-46. This will mark the Wolverines second-straight appearance in the national tournament and their 6th overall for the program, who enter the postseason with a 21-10 overall record after going 9-7 in regular season league play. The Wolverines are led by senior guard Kate Thompson, who averages 14.5 points per game and has 42 blocks on the year along with 128 rebounds. Villlanova and Michigan have never faced each other in women's basketball.
NOTES: Villanova is one of seven BIG EAST teams in the field of 64... This is the first time since 2009 that Villanova has both its men's and women's basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament... Villanova is one of 24 schools to have both programs in the tournament field.