Penn State women earn No. 3 seed; West Virginia lands No. 11 seed
Penn State landed a No. 3 seed for the second straight year and will open the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament against No. 14 Cal Poly on Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
West Virginia drew a No. 11 seed and a difficult first-round game against No. 6 Delaware on Sunday in Newark, Del.
Delaware (30-3), ranked No. 15, has won 25 straight games and won its second straight Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title with a win over Drexel.
The Mountaineers (17-13) were among the last four teams to get into the NCAA Women's Tournament.
“It is good we got in,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “To me, that says something about the strength of the (Big 12), our reputation and some of the wins we had on the road. We're happy to be in.”
Duquesne, which fell to 23-7 with a loss to Saint Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals, missed the cut.
“I have to admit, we're very disappointed,” Dukes coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “This was finally the year that we thought we had done enough as far as the RPI and scheduling teams we needed to play.”
The Dukes beat West Virginia and Delaware during nonconference play and have a 36 RPI.
McConnell-Serio said the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” moments, including one-point losses to Saint Joseph's and Dayton and the loss in the A-10 Tournament, knocked them out of consideration. Saint Joseph's, which won the tournament, and Dayton were the only A-10 teams in the NCAA Women's Tournament.
Not surprisingly, the four No. 1 seeds in the tournament went to Stanford, Baylor, Notre Dame and Connecticut.
“We understand that our margin for error is very slim,” McConnell-Serio said. “It almost comes down to we have to win the (conference) tournament to get in. It's not even like you can just have a great year and get in, which is unfortunate. The conference we're in, that's the way we're looked upon.”
The Dukes, who practiced Monday and gathered for a private “Selection Show” viewing party at Palumbo Center, will play in the WNIT for the fifth year in a row, hosting Akron (23-9) on Thursday. The winner will play the winner of Bowling Green/SMU.
McConnell-Serio said her players knew where they might be slotted, and the room was completely silent after the final No. 11 seed was revealed for the NCAA Tournament.
“They literally got up and walked out (when it was over),” she said of the players. “Their hearts are broken. There's nothing you can say right now that would make them feel better.”
Penn State (25-5), as the No. 6 seed in 2011, lost to No. 3 DePaul in the second round. In 2012, the Lady Lions, earned a No. 3 seed and advanced to the Sweet 16, where they lost to top-seeded Connecticut.
Cal Poly (21-10), which won the Big West Tournament, is making its first appearance in the NCAA Women's Tournament.
If Penn State wins, it will face No. 6 LSU or No. 11 Green Bay.