Big Ten Sends Five To NCAA Tournament

March 13, 2005

PARK RIDGE, Ill - Five Big Ten women's basketball teams were selected to participate in the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Michigan State leads the group as a No. 1 seed, with Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State also earning top four seeds.  Purdue also earned a bid to the Tournament.

Michigan State (28-3, 14-2), the Big Ten co-champion and tournament champion, received the top seed in the Midwest region and will play at Minneapolis. MSU becomes the ninth team from the Big Ten to earn a No.1 since the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship began in 1982. The Spartans first round game will pit them against Alcorn State, with the winner facing the winner of USC / Louisville in the second round.  Michigan State is making its fifth overall appearance in the NCAA Championship and third straight under Joanne P. McCallie.

Ohio State (28-4, 14-2), the other Big Ten co-champion, will be the No. 2 seed in the East region.  The Buckeyes will travel and face No. 15 Holy Cross in the first round.  The winner of that game faces the winner of Maryland / UW-Green Bay in the second round.  Ohio State is making its 14th NCAA Championship appearance and third in three years for Jim Foster.

Minnesota (24-7, 12-4) is back in the NCAA Championship to try to make a second consecutive run at the Women's Final Four.  The Golden Gophers, a No. 3 seed in the West region, will play No. 14 St. Francis (Pa.) in their opening contest.  The winner takes on the winner of Virginia / Old Dominion in the second round.  Minnesota will be making its fifth all-time NCAA Championship appearance and fourth straight.  Coach Pam Borton has led the team to the tournament in each of her three seasons at the helm.

Penn State (19-10, 13-3) will also return to the NCAA Championship after narrowly missing a share of another Big Ten Championship.  The Nittany Lions are a No. 4 seed and will meet No. 13 Liberty in first round action in the Mideast region.  The winner will go on to face the victor of DePaul / Virginia Tech in the second round.  Penn State is making its 21st NCAA Championship appearance and seventh straight - all under the leadership of Rene Portland.

Purdue (16-12, 9-7) earned the Big Ten's final NCAA Championship bid.  The No. 9 seed Boilermakers face No. 8 New Mexico in the East region in first round action in Knoxville, Tenn.  That winner plays the winner of Tennessee / Western Carolina in the second round.  Purdue is making its 16th NCAA appearances and its 12th straight, a run that includes the national championship in 1999.  Kristy Curry has guided Purdue to the NCAA Championship in each of her six seasons.

All NCAA Championship games will air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  Tip times will be announced later.