Notre Dame earned its second-straight outright regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2013 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters, to be held March 8-12 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. All 15 teams in the league will compete for the Championship title and the Conference’s automatic NCAA Championship berth in 14 games over five days.
The 2013 Championship field is based on regular-season league records, with the highest four seeds earning double byes into the quarterfinals on March 10. Teams finishing in spots 5-9 earned first-round byes, while seeds 10-15 will begin play in the first round on March 8.
Notre Dame (28-1, 16-0 BIG EAST) earned its second-straight regular-season championship after winning it last year for the first time since 2000-01. The Fighting Irish, who defeated Connecticut 96-87 in triple overtime to clinch the No. 1 seed, head into the conference tournament on a 23-game winning streak after going undefeated in league play. The Irish’s only loss this season came to No. 1/1 Baylor 73-61 on Dec. 5.
Connecticut, which had a chance to claim a share of the regular season title heading into the final game against the Irish, takes the No. 2 seed. The Huskies posted a 27-3 regular season record and finished 14-2 in league play. Both losses were to Notre Dame. The Huskies are the 2012 BIG EAST tournament champions after defeating the Irish in the title game last season.
No. 3 seed Syracuse (23-6, 11-5) snapped a three-game losing streak in the regular-season finale against Louisville to take the tiebreaker and the third seed. SU will play the winner of Villanova vs. Providence/Georgetown at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The No. 3 seed is the highest for the Orange since it earned the top spot in the 1988 Championship.
No. 4 seed Louisville (23-7, 11-5) will play in the first game on Sunday, March 10 at 12 p.m. ET. The Cardinals earned the No. 4 seed for the first time in school history. It is the highest seed for the Cardinals since 2009, when they were a No. 2 seed. The Cardinals will face the winner of No. 5 seed St. John’s vs. Cincinnati/Seton Hall.
No. 12 seed Seton Hall (10-19, 5-11) will play No. 13 seed Cincinnati (12-17, 4-12) to kick off the tournament on March 8 at 4 p.m. The Pirates ended the regular season on a high note, defeating St. John’s 60-51, which was receiving votes in the USA Today poll, on March 2 at home. The Bearcats and Pirates met on Jan. 8 during the regular season at Fifth-Third Arena. Seton Hall won 64-56.
The winner of the Seton Hall/Cincinnati game will play No. 5 seed St. John’s (17-11, 11-5). The Red Storm defeated Seton Hall 72-46 at MSG on Jan. 12 before falling to the Pirates on the road on March 2. Against Cincinnati, St. John’s recorded a 75-46 win on Feb. 17. The Red Storm have won seven of their last eight games.
The second game of the opening session will see No. 10 seed Marquette (15-14, 7-9) will play No. 15 seed Pittsburgh (9-20, 0-16) at 6 p.m. ET. The Golden Eagles won the regular season matchup on the road 74-65 on Jan. 19. Marquette is on a three-game winning streak. The winner will play No. 7 seed DePaul (20-10, 9-7) on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
The Blue Demons tied for sixth place with Villanova and USF. The Wildcats went 2-0 against the other two teams, earning the No. 6 seed. DePaul defeated USF 91-75 on Jan. 12 to take the seventh seed, while USF fell to No. 8. DePaul lost to Marquette 70-66 on the road on Feb. 2 and swept the regular-season series with Pitt.
Friday will wrap up with a tilt between No. 14 seed Providence (7-22, 2-14) and No. 11 seed Georgetown (14-15, 5-11) at 8 p.m. ET. The Hoyas and Friars began league play on Jan. 5, with GU posting a 79-64 victory. Senior Sugar Rodgers had a triple-double with 33 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. The winner of that game will play No. 6 seed Villanova (20-9, 9-7).
The Wildcats split the regular-season series with Providence. After falling 65-60 in overtime on Jan. 23, Villanova got revenge on the final day of the regular season, posting a 72-38 win at home.
Both No. 9 seed Rutgers (16-13, 7-9) and No. 8 seed USF (20-9, 9-7) earned byes to the second round, and will face each other on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
Ticket packages to all 14 games of the championship may still be purchased at the reduced price of $99.00 each, which is discounted by nearly one half of the face value.
To charge tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. In addition, tickets can be purchased online by logging on to the XL Center website at www.xlcenter.com.
Tickets can also be purchased at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center. Weekday box office hours are Noon-5 p.m. For weekend events, the ticket office will open four hours prior to the start of an event. All ticket purchases are subject to additional convenience fees.
For group sales (10 or more) information and discounts, please contact Lisa Feigenbaum of the XL Center at (860) 548-2000.
For more information please visit Championship Central at www.bigeast.org/wbb.
2013 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Field
Friday, March 8 - First Round (BE.tv)
Game 1 4 p.m. #12 Seton Hall vs. #13 Cincinnati
Game 2 6 p.m. #15 Pittsburgh vs. #10 Marquette
Game 3 8 p.m. #14 Providence vs. #11 Georgetown
Saturday, March 9 - Second Round (BETV and BE.tv)
Game 4 Noon #5 St. John’s vs. Game 1 winner
Game 5 2 p.m. #8 USF vs. #9 Rutgers
Game 6 6 p.m. #7 DePaul vs. Game 2 winner
Game 7 8 p.m. #6 Villanova vs. Game 3 winner
Sunday, March 10 - Quarterfinals (ESPNU/BETV)
Game 8 Noon #4 Louisville vs. Game 4 winner
Game 9 2 p.m. #1 Notre Dame vs. Game 5 winner
Game 10 6 p.m. #2 Connecticut vs. Game 6 winner
Game 11 8:30 p.m. #3 Syracuse vs. Game 7 winner
Monday, March 11 - Semifinals (ESPNU)
Game 12 6 p.m. Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner
Game 13 8 p.m. Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner
Tuesday, March 12 - Championship (ESPN)
Game 14 7 p.m. Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner
BETV – BIG EAST Regional Sports Network; BE.tv – streamed online at www.BIGEAST.tv; All times are Eastern