We all know the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will never receive the same hype and attention as their male counterparts, but there are still plenty of fans out there.
This year’s selection show is scheduled to air tonight on ESPN at 7 p.m. EST.
The announcement will consist of 31 automatic qualifiers and 33 at-large bids to make up the 64-team bracket. Among the automatic qualifiers, there are already several locals in the field — both individuals and teams.
Obviously the hot-ticket team for the area is Marist, who recently captured its eighth consecutive MAAC title to earn an automatic bid. The Red Foxes are led by coach Brian Giorgis, who coached Lourdes to nine state championships in 19 seasons prior to his tenure at Marist. Former Warrior Maggie Gallagher and Lakeland grad Tori Jarosz are the only locals on the roster for the Poughkeepsie-based squad.
Quinnipiac will also be dancing this year, after winning the Northeast Conference, and that includes Ursuline grad Shelby Sferra. Not that it’s unexpected news, but UConn is expected to receive a No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament.
Winners of six of the last 13 tournaments, the Huskies (29-4) will be looking to capture their first national championship since 2010. UConn has set the foundation for several deep tournament runs in the coming years with the successful recruitments of 2012 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Americans Breanna Stewart (Class of 2016, 2012 Naismith H.S. girls basketball player of the year), Moriah Jefferson (Class of 2016), Morgan Tuck (Class of 2016), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Class of 2015), Kiah Stokes (Class of 2015), and of course, Ossining’s own Saniya Chong (Class of 2017). For what it’s worth, UConn sophomore Brianna Banks (Class of 2015) was a McDonald’s All-American and WBCA All-American honorable mention.