UTAH UTES

Women’s Sweet 16 Features New Format And Historic Field

Mar 21, 2023, 9:24 AM

ASSOCIATED PRESS – The women’s college basketball Sweet 16 features a new format and a bit of history when it begins later this week. The NCAA changed its setup this season, going away from the traditional four sites to two. Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle will each host eight teams before sending the winners on to Dallas for the Final Four. This weekend will also feature the second time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams that two of the No. 1 seeds didn’t reach the regional semifinals after Stanford and Indiana were knocked out.

The Sweet 16 features a new format and a bit of history when it begins later this week.

The NCAA changed its setup for the women’s tournament this season, trimming the traditional four regional sites to two. Seattle and Greenville — a city of 71,000 in South Carolina about halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina — will each host eight teams before sending the winners on to Dallas for the Final Four.

It is also just the second time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994 that two of the No. 1 seeds didn’t reach the regional semifinals after Mississippi and Miami knocked out Stanford and Indiana, respectively. It also happened in 1998.

The other top seeds — South Carolina and Virginia Tech — advanced. The Gamecocks, led by star Aliyah Boston, are four wins from completing their own historic journey and back-to-back national championships. They are seeking just the 10th undefeated season ever in women’s basketball, and the next steps for coach Dawn Staley’s team are just a 90-minute trip from campus.

There are a lot of teams that have ended long Sweet 16 droughts, like the Hokies, Hurricanes, Colorado and Villanova. UConn, on the other hand, will be playing in its 29th consecutive regional semifinal.

Despite the parity that took place during the regular season and the exit of those two No. 1 seeds, it is the second time in the past six years that no double-digit seed reached the round of 16. It’s also the first time since the Big 12 was formed in 1996 that no teams from the conference reached the second weekend.

There’s plenty of star power across the field with Angel Reese, Maddy Siegrist, Caitlin Clark and Elizabeth Kitley joining Boston in the regional semifinals.

GREENVILLE 1

The Gamecocks are the heavy favorite to come out of this region and, for that matter, to win another title. The regional semifinal opponent is No. 4 seed UCLA. The Bruins gave the Gamecocks a competitive game back in November, leading at halftime by four before losing by nine.

No. 2 seed Maryland will play No. 3 seed Notre Dame in the other semifinal. The Terrapins, led by Diamond Miller, used a strong second half to get by Arizona in the second round. The Fighting Irish overcame season-ending injuries to Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey to get to the Sweet 16. Notre Dame got a strong effort from post Lauren Ebo, who set a school NCAA tourney record with 18 rebounds in a win over Mississippi State.

GREENVILLE 2

With Indiana losing, the bracket is more open, with Villanova and Siegrist playing the Hurricanes in one of the semifinals. Siegrist, who leads the nation in scoring, has the Wildcats back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. Miami’s drought was even longer, not making it this far since 1992.

The other semifinal in the region pits two of the most talented forwards in the country against each other: LSU’s Angel Reese and Utah’s Alissa Pili. Reese helped the Tigers reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014. The “Bayou Barbie” had 25 points, an eye-popping 24 rebounds and six blocks in the third-seeded Tigers’ rout of Michigan. Second-seeded Utah is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006 after edging Princeton in the second round.

SEATTLE 3

Second-seeded UConn, which has dealt with injuries all season, will face third-seeded Ohio State in one semifinal. The Buckeyes needed a shot in the final few seconds by Jacy Sheldon to advance this far for the fourth straight season.

Top seed Virginia Tech is the newcomer here, making its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1999 after two impressive home wins in the first two rounds. Kitley and Co. head across the country for a rematch against Tennessee. The two teams played Dec. 4 and the Hokies came away with a three-point win. The Lady Vols were missing Rickea Jackson for that game and it was the final one that Tamari Key played in before being sidelined for the season with blood clots.

Tennessee has run through the first two rounds, becoming just the fourth team to win each of its first two games by 45 points or more. UConn did it the other three times, according to ESPN.

SEATTLE 4

Ole Miss crashed the party with its upset of Stanford and is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007. Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s defensive-minded squad will face a Louisville team that routed Texas on the Longhorns’ home court. Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith grew up in Central Washington, a few hours from Seattle.

The other matchup will feature Clark and her logo-range shooting for Iowa against Colorado. Iowa edged Georgia in the second round, erasing the memory of last season’s round of 32 defeat to Creighton. The Hawkeyes will face a Colorado team in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

60 In 60: #48 Utah’s Kenan Johnson (Defensive Back)

The countdown is on for Hans & Scotty’s 60 in 60 2024 college football season. Utah Utes defensive back Kenan Johnson checks in at No. 49.

3 hours ago

citizens bank park...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Former BYU Pitcher Advances To Triple-A While Rehabbing For Philadelphia Phillies

Former BYU baseball pitcher Michael Rucker is one call from making his Philadelphia Phillies debut after a promotion to Triple-A.

5 hours ago

mark-harlan-at-big-12-announcment-for-utah-athletics-2023...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah AD Mark Harlan Named To U.S. Olympic, Paralympic Collegiate Advisory Council

University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan has been named to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Collegiate Advisory Council.

3 days ago

craig-smith-sits-in-thought-during-runnin-utes-game-2023...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Rounds Out 2024-25 Staff With New ‘General Manager’ Position, Hire

Craig Smith and the Runnin' Utes have completed their 2024-25 staff with the addition of general manager Mike Summey.

4 days ago

Aliki Vimahi Utah Utes College Football 60 in 60...

KSL Sports

60 in 60: #50 Utah’s Aliki Vimahi (Defensive Tackle)

Hans & Scotty’s 60 in 60 college football countdown is here. Utah Utes defensive tackle Seni Tuiaki checks in at No. 50.

4 days ago

britain-covey-jukes-utah-state-defenders-at-rice-eccles-stadium-2015...

Michelle Bodkin

Getting To Know Utah Football’s 2024 Schedule: Battle Of The Brothers Returns

Our look at Utah football's 2024 schedule continues on with their last out-of-conference game against the Utah State Aggies.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Women’s Sweet 16 Features New Format And Historic Field