After four straight years as a No. 1 seed, Stanford women’s basketball was relegated to a No. 2 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament by the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee Monday.
The Cardinal (29-3), placed in the Stanford Regional as it will host the third and fourth rounds March 30 and April 1, has been sent to Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State, for the first two rounds, where it will open the tournament Saturday, March 22 against No. 15-seed South Dakota at 3:30 p.m. PT at Hilton Coliseum.
Host school Iowa State, which earned a No. 7 seed, will face No. 10 Florida State in Saturday’s other opening-round matchup at 1 p.m. PT. The winners of Saturday’s games will face off in Monday’s second-round contest.
Tickets for the First and Second Rounds will be on sale through the Stanford Athletic Ticket Office online shortly at www.gostanford.com/tickets. First and Second Round Tickets must be purchased through the Stanford Athletic Ticket Office online or by phone (800-STANFORD, Monday-Friday, 8:30a.m.-5 p.m.) by 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday, March 18 for seating in the Stanford section.
Saturday’s first-round contest will be the first meeting between Stanford and South Dakota (19-13, 7-7 Summit League). The Coyotes defeated Denver, 82-71, in the Summit League final this past Tuesday to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid. South Dakota entered the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed.
South Dakota, located in Vermillion, S.D. and with head coach Amy Williams in her second season at the helm, are led by the play of guards Nicole Seekamp (15.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Raeshel Contreras (13.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
Stanford earned its 27th consecutive and 28th overall NCAA Tournament bid by earning an at-large bid into the field. Since its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1982, Stanford has won two national championships (1990, 1992), reached 11 Final Fours (1990-92, 1995-97, 2008-12), 16 Elite Eights, 20 Sweet 16s and compiled an NCAA Tournament record of 71-25.
Stanford's 11 Final Four appearances are the third-most by any school entering this year's tournament, and its 28 overall appearances rank third behind only Tennessee, which has appeared in all 33 NCAA Tournaments, and Georgia (31 appearances).
The Cardinal heads into this season's tournament led by the play of national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike, the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (26.8 ppg - third), rebounding (12.3 rpg - seventh), field-goal percentage (61.0 - third) and double-doubles (24 - sixth) through March 16. The senior forward from Cypress, Texas swept the Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the second straight year, with the defensive honor being her third in a row.
A record nine-time Pac-12 Player of the Week selection this year, Ogwumike has scored at least 30 points in 14 games this season, and over nine games against Top-25 teams this year has led Stanford to an 8-1 record while averaging 25.0 points and 12.6 rebounds per game with a field-goal percentage of 59.4 while battling constant double- and triple-teams.She was joined on the All-Pac-12 Team for the second straight year by junior point guard Amber Orrange (9.9 ppg, 4.47 apg), who ranks ninth in the country with a 3.04 assist-to-turnover ratio, while redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef was rewarded for her career year (6.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.19 apg) with her first all-conference honor, being named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.