Maryland Women Receive Top Seed, Face Dartmouth
The third-ranked Maryland women and their fans—about 200 strong—gathered in Heritage Hall inside Comcast Center tonight, already knowing that they were assured a spot in the NCAA tournament and that their first two games will be played in College Park on Sunday and Tuesday. All they were waiting for was the name of their opponents.
At 7:11 p.m., a huge cheer went up as the first match-up of the field of 64 was revealed: No. 1 seed Maryland vs. No. 16 seed Dartmouth in the Raleigh region.
If the Terrapins win, they will face the winner of the 8-9 game between Villanova (19-13) and Utah (22-9). Also in Maryland's region are Baylor (No. 2 seed), Louisville (No. 3 seed) and Vanderbilt (No. 4 seed). Louisville is coached by former Maryland assistant Jeff Walz. The only way the Terrapins can meet top-ranked and undefeated Connecticut is in the national final.
Maryland and Dartmouth have never faced each other in the NCAA women's tournament. The Big Green (18-10, 13-1 Ivy) are making their seventh NCAA tournament appearance; they have never won a game. But two things of note:
1. The only No. 16 to ever upset a No. 1 seed is an Ivy League school: Harvard beat Stanford, 71-67, in 1998.
2. Three years earlier, I was in University Hall as Dartmouth, seeded 14th, almost knocked off third-seeded Virginia. The Big Green ultimately lost, 71-68. I was a sophomore at Dartmouth at the time, covering the team for the school paper.
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