March 14, 2011
Five Big Ten women's basketball teams were selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship, it was announced on Monday night. Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue each earned berths into this year's field. The Big Ten has sent five or more teams to the NCAA tournament eight times in the past 11 seasons.
The Spartans were selected as a No. 4 seed and will open play against No. 13 Northern Iowa on Sunday in the Dallas Region. Should the Spartans advance to the second round, they would face the Green Bay-Arkansas-Little Rock winner in first and second round games to be played in Wichita, Kan. Michigan State makes its 11th appearance and returns to the postseason tournament for the third straight season. Winners of the 2011 Big Ten Championship, the Spartans are the most recent conference team to advance to the Final Four, competing in the national championship game in 2005 in Indianapolis, the host city for this year's event.
The Buckeyes earned the No. 4 seed in the Dayton Region and will open play on Saturday against No. 13 Central Florida in Columbus. With a first-round win, Ohio State will face the Georgia Tech-Bowling Green winner in the second round. Ohio State advances to its ninth straight NCAA Championship after taking home its third consecutive Big Ten Tournament title. The Buckeyes have made 20 NCAA tournament appearances and enter the postseason tournament on a nine-game winning streak.
The Hawkeyes earned a berth in the tournament as the No. 6 seed and will take on No. 11 Gonzaga in a first-round game to be played in Spokane, Wash. A win would send the Hawkeyes into a second round contest against the UCLA-Montana winner. Iowa appears in the tournament for the 20th time overall and the fourth-straight season. It is the eighth time the Hawkeyes have been selected to the NCAA tournament in head coach Lisa Bluder's 11 seasons in Iowa City.
Hosting first and second round games in University Park, the Lady Lions enter the field as the No. 6 seed in the Philadelphia Region and will face No. 11 Dayton in the opening round. With a win, they would face the DePaul-Navy winner in the second round. Penn State is making its 12th appearance in the annual event as a member of the Big Ten, and 22nd overall, and returns to the NCAA Championship field for the first time since 2005. The Lady Lions are 18-11 in the postseason as a Big Ten institution.
Entering the field as the No. 9 seed in the Philadelphia Region, the Boilermakers will face No. 8 Kansas State on Sunday in Storrs, Conn. A first-round win would send Purdue into a second round matchup against the Connecticut-Hartford winner. Purdue advances to the NCAA Championship for the 21st time in 23 seasons and is the winningest Big Ten team in the tournament field with 42 victories in program history.
The 2011 NCAA Championship will culminate at the Women's Final Four, held April 3-5, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.