Atlantic Coast Conference Showcases Six in 2010 NCAA Tournament
March 15, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. - For the eighth straight year, the Atlantic Coast Conference will be represented by at least six teams in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Field of 64. The ACC is one of only four leagues to place six or more teams in the 2010 Big Dance.
Duke, which won the school's sixth ACC Women's Basketball Championship and its first since winning five straight from 2000-04, finished 27-5 and earned a No. 2 seed in the Memphis region of the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Duke has won six of its last seven contests and boasts a 7-3 record against ranked teams, including an 83-67 victory over then-ranked No. 3 Ohio State. Junior first-team All-ACC guard and All-America candidate Jasmine Thomas, who recorded the league's only triple-double performance of the season with 11 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in a Nov. 27 win over Marquette, will guide Duke to its league-best 16th-straight NCAA tournament and 17th overall.
Joining the Blue Devils among the top seeds selected for this year's Tournament are the Florida State Seminoles, who own a 26-5 overall record and a share of the league's regular season crown with Duke. Florida State joins Duke as the only league team to be ranked in each Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.com Top 25 polls of the season. In addition to Duke and Florida State as ACC representatives in this year's NCAA Tournament are Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia.
In just her third season as head coach of the Blue Devils, Joanne P. McCallie was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year, an honor that marks the fourth conference in which McCallie, who previously spent time as head coach at Maine and Michigan State, has won a coach of the year award. McCallie guided the Blue Devils to their 13th-straight 20-win season this year. The Blue Devils earned a No. 2 seed and will play host to one of the first and second rounds of this year's NCAA Tournament. Duke will face No. 15 seed Hampton, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference automatic qualifier, in the comfortable confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, with the winner advancing to face either No. 7 seed LSU or No. 10 seed Hartford.
In the Dayton, Ohio region, the Florida State Seminoles make their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, ninth appearance overall and sixth under 13th-year head coach Sue Semrau. The `Noles wrapped up the regular season as co-regular season champions for the second-consecutive year with a 12-2 league finish and have won eight of their last 10 games. FSU is led by first-team All-ACC senior guard/forward Jacinta Monroe. As a No. 3 seed, FSU will play host to No. 14 seed Louisiana Tech, the Western Athletic Conference automatic qualifier. The winner of this first-round contest will face either No. 6 seed St. John's or No. 11 seed Princeton in Tallahassee, Fla.
Also placed in the Dayton region is No. 5 seed Virginia, which earns its 24th NCAA Tournament appearance, a mark that only four other schools have attained. The Cavaliers, who finished 21-9 overall, the squad's third-straight 20-win season, will face No. 12 seed Green Bay, the first Horizon League at-large selection in conference history. ACC Player of the Year Monica Wright, the school's all-time leading scorer and third-leading scoring in ACC history, led the league and Virginia with averages of 23.3 points per game and 3.6 steals per game this season. The winner of the Wahoos and the Phoenix will face No. 4 seed Iowa State or No. 13 seed Lehigh in Austin, Texas.
Georgia Tech, which won 23 games thus far this season, a mark that ties the school record for wins in a regular season, claimed a No. 6 seed in the Kansas City region. The Yellow Jackets posted their fourth straight 20-win season en route to making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth overall. Georgia Tech is guided by the dual threats of second-team All-ACC senior forward Brigitte Ardossi and third-team All-ACC junior guard and 2010 ACC Sixth Player of the Year Alex Montgomery. Ardossi and Montgomery have combined to score 28.0 points per game this season, 42 percent of Georgia Tech's scoring. The Yellow Jackets face No. 11 seed Arkansas-Little Rock in the Trojans' first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, while the winner will advance to face No. 3 seed Oklahoma or No. 14 seed South Dakota State in Norman, Okla.
Rounding out the list of six ACC NCAA contestants are cross-town and long-time ACC rivals North Carolina and NC State.
North Carolina was named a No. 10 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and will participate in the Big Dance for the 22nd time in program history. Carolina definitely felt the absence of Jessica Breland, who took a medical redshirt to battle Hodgkins lymphoma, but managed a 10-point victory over arch-rival and sixth-ranked Duke in the final conference game of the season. Filling in for Breland were second-team All-ACC junior forward Italee Lucas and third-team All-ACC junior guard Cetera DeGraffenreid. The Tar Heels will face No. 7 seed Gonzaga, the West Coast Conference automatic qualifier, in the Sacramento region. The winner will square off against No. 2 seed Texas A&M or No. 15 seed Portland State in second-round action in Seattle, Wash.
The Wolfpack, less than one year removed from the loss of legendary coach Kay Yow, responded to first-year head coach Kellie Harper, who guided the Pack all the way to the finals of the 33rd Annual ACC Tournament, before losing, 70-60, to top-seeded Duke. NC State became only the second team in ACC Tournament history to reach the tournament finals as a No. 6 seed and have now won seven of their last nine games. Led by sophomore Honorable Mention All-ACC forward Bonae Holston and ACC Freshman of the Year Marissa Kastanek, NC State, an NCAA Tournament No. 9 seed, will face No. 8 seed UCLA, a Pac-10 at-large selection, in the Kansas City region with the opportunity to advance and face No. 1 seed Nebraska or No. 16 seed Northern Iowa in Minneapolis, Minn. The Pack will make their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2007.
First- and second-round games will be played at 16 sites on Saturday-Tuesday, March 20-23. The 16 second-round winners will advance to the four regional sites. The Memphis, Tenn. Regional and the Sacramento, Calif. Regional will be played on Saturday, March 27 and Monday, March 29, while the Dayton, Ohio Regional and the Kansas City Regional will be held on Sunday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 30. The four regional winners will meet in the NCAA Women's Final Four, April 4 and 6, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.