Oregon women’s basketball selected as No. 2 seed, will host first and second rounds of NCAA Tournament
Last season, Oregon women’s basketball sat down for the NCAA Selection Show, waiting to see who the team would draw, where they’d be seeded and where they’d play.
On Monday, the Ducks were confident they’d be hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Matthew Knight Arena. The question was just who they’d play and what seeding they’d have.
As the ESPN announcement was made, the fans seated in the end of the arena rose to their feet to celebrate as the players, sitting just in front of them, leaped into the air.
“When you see your name up there, it’s always pretty magical,” head coach Kelly Graves said. “It’s a real testament to a group that worked really really hard this season and a two-seed is validation of that.”
The No. 2 seed Ducks will play No. 15 Seattle in their first round game on Friday at 4 p.m. as the madness comes to Eugene. If Oregon wins, it will play the winner of No. 7 Green Bay and No. 10 Minnesota in the second round.
“Having a two-seed is great and just being able to host it here in Eugene,” sophomore forward Ruthy Hebard said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of family and fans ready to cheer us on.”
The announcement. The reaction. pic.twitter.com/NcpaRjwCyO
— Shawn Medow (@ShawnMedow) March 12, 2018
Seattle went 17-14 this season and 9-5 in the Western Athletic Conference. Seattle played both Cal and Washington in nonconference games, losing to both teams.
In 2017, the Ducks went on an inspirational run to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. This year, they have a different type of pressure.
“I don’t think that you can tell that it’s different by the way we practiced this week,” Graves said. “We have the luxury of knowing that we better come ready to play because we were in the same position last year.”
Rather than the underdog, Oregon is the favorite to get to the Elite Eight in its corner of the bracket where the Ducks could run into Notre Dame the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Regional.
The Ducks’ season has gone without much blemish. Oregon has a 30-4 record with two losses to top seeded Mississippi State and Louisville during nonconference play.
Sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu led Oregon all season. She set the NCAA record for triple-doubles and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Freshman Satou Sabally emerged for the Ducks this season and became the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
The Ducks season ended with a bang, as Oregon won its first Pac-12 regular season title since the 1999-2000 season. The Ducks then went on to win the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time ever after beating Stanford in the title game.
Stanford is seeded No. 4 and will play Gonzaga in the first round while UCLA was given a No. 3 seed and will play American. Oregon State is a No. 6 seed and will play Western Kentucky, while Arizona State and California are No. 7 seeds, and will play Nebraska in the first round of the Tournament.
The full bracket:
✨ So fresh. So clean. ✨
— NCAA Women's BKB (@ncaawbb) March 13, 2018
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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