Maryland women’s basketball returns to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Region. The Terps clinched a spot in the tournament field by winning the Big Ten tournament over a week ago, but the wait to hear their name called is officially over.
Terps draw a 3 seed in the Bridgeport region and will take on Bucknell on Friday. pic.twitter.com/kW7q37ECl2— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) March 13, 2017
The Terps will host the first two rounds in College Park. They’ll start with No. 14-seed Bucknell on Friday. Assuming they advance to the second round, the winner of No. 6 West Virginia and No. 11 Elon will await them on Sunday.
The second weekend will take place in Bridgeport, where Connecticut will be heavily favored. Maryland will likely have to play Duke before that. UConn is the tournament’s top overall seed, and Duke coming in ahead of Maryland is a big surprise. The Blue Devils finished 27-5 and were the runner-up to Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament.
If the Terps can clear all of those hurdles, they will head to Dallas for their third Final Four appearance in four years. The national semifinals take place on Friday, March 31, with the title game two days later.
Maryland is 30-2, but the Terps’ resume didn’t quite stack up with other top-tier teams. The Big Ten wasn’t particularly strong this season, and the out-of-conference slate only offered a few tough tests. Maryland’s only losses were to UConn and Ohio State, just like a season ago, when the Terps entered the tournament 30-3. They earned the No. 6 overall seed last year, but the committee clearly didn’t think so highly of them this time.
After suffering a second-round upset at the hands of Washington last spring and being seeded surprisingly low this year, Maryland figures to come out with a vengeance. The Terps will ride senior Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, both of whom were selected to the Big Ten’s first team and espnW’s All-America second team. Their jerseys were honored in the Xfinity Center rafters on Senior Day, and they hope to leave College Park on a high note.