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The NCAA Women's Division I Championship is an annual basketball tournament for women. Held each April, the Women's Championship was inaugurated in the 1981-82 season. The NCAA tournament was preceded by the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament, which was held annually from 1972 to 1982.

Attendance and interest have grown over the years, especially since 2003, when the final championship game was moved to the Tuesday following the Monday men's championship game. The women's championship game is now the final overall game of the college basketball season.

The tournament bracket is made up of champions from each Division I conference, which receive automatic bids. The remaining slots are at-large bids, with teams chosen by an NCAA selection committee. The selection process and tournament seedings are based on several factors, including team rankings, win-loss records and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) data.

Unlike the men's tournament, there are only 33 at-large bids, and no play-in game. The women's tournament, like the men's, is staged in a single elimination format, and is part of the media and public frenzy known colloquially as March Madness.

All 63 games have been broadcast on television since 2003 on ESPN and ESPN2. Similar to men's tournament coverage on CBS, local teams are shown on each channel when available, with "whip-around" coverage designed to showcase the most competitive contests in the rest of the country.

Tournament format

A total of 64 teams qualify for the tournament played in March and April. 30 of the 64 teams earn automatic bids by winning their respective conference tournaments. Since the Ivy League does not conduct a post-season tournament, the regular-season conference champion receives an automatic bid. The remaining teams are granted "at-large" bids, which are extended by the NCAA Selection Committee.

The tournament is split into four regional tournaments, and each regional has teams seeded from 1 to 16, with the committee ostensibly making every region as comparable to the others as possible . The top-seeded team in each region plays the #16 team, the #2 team plays the #15, etc.

Number of teams, and seeding

The first NCAA women's basketball tournament was held in 1982. The AIAW also held a basketball tournament in 1982, but most of the top teams, including defending AIAW champion Louisiana Tech, decided to participate in the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, this resulted in the dissolution of the AIAW.

The championship consisted of 32 teams from 1982-1985, 40 teams from 1986-1988, and 48 teams from 1989-1993. Since 1994 64 teams compete in each tournament.

Prior to 1996, seeding was conducted on a regional basis. The top teams (eight in the 32-, 40-, and 48-team formats, and 16 in the 64-team format) were ranked and seeded on a national basis. The remaining teams were then seeded based on their geographic region. Teams were moved outside of its geographic region only if it was necessary to balance the bracket, or if the proximity of an opponent outside of its region would be comparable and a more competitive game would result. In 1993, the all teams except for the top four were explicitly unseeded. The regional seeding resumed in 1994. In 1996, seeds were assigned on a national basis using an "S-Curve" format similar to the process used in selecting the field for the men's tournament.

Selection process

A special selection committee appointed by the NCAA determines which 64 teams will enter the tournament, and where they will be seeded and placed in the bracket. Because of the automatic bids, only 33 teams (the at-large bids) rely on the selection committee to secure them a spot in the tournament.

Women's NCAA Division I basketball champions

Year Winner Score Opponent Venue
1982 Louisiana Tech 76-62 Cheyney Statemarker Norfolk Scopemarker (Norfolk, Virginiamarker)
1983 USC 69-67 Louisiana Tech Norfolk Scopemarker (Norfolk, Virginiamarker)
1984 USC 72-61 Tennessee Pauley Pavilionmarker (Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker)
1985 Old Dominionmarker 70-65 Georgia Frank Erwin Centermarker (Austin, Texasmarker)
1986 Texas 97-81 USC Rupp Arenamarker (Lexington, Kentuckymarker)
1987 Tennessee 67-44 Louisiana Tech Frank Erwin Centermarker (Austin, Texasmarker)
1988 Louisiana Tech 56-54 Auburn Tacoma Domemarker (Tacoma, Washingtonmarker)
1989 Tennessee 76-70 Auburn Tacoma Domemarker (Tacoma, Washingtonmarker)
1990 Stanford 88-81 Auburn Thompson-Boling Arenamarker (Knoxville, Tennesseemarker)
1991 Tennessee 70-67 (OT) Virginia Lakefront Arenamarker (New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker)
1992 Stanford 78-62 Western Kentucky Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arenamarker (Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker)
1993 Texas Tech 84-82 Ohio State Omni Coliseummarker (Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker)
1994 North Carolina 60-59 Louisiana Tech Richmond Coliseummarker (Richmond, Virginiamarker)
1995 Connecticut 70-64 Tennessee Target Centermarker (Minneapolismarker, Minnesotamarker)
1996 Tennessee 83-65 Georgia Charlotte Coliseummarker (Charlotte, North Carolinamarker)
1997 Tennessee 68-59 Old Dominionmarker Riverfront Coliseummarker (Cincinnatimarker, Ohiomarker)
1998 Tennessee 93-75 Louisiana Tech Kemper Arenamarker (Kansas City, Missourimarker)
1999 Purdue 62-45 Duke HP Pavilion at San Josemarker (San Jose, Californiamarker)
2000 Connecticut 71-52 Tennessee Wachovia Centermarker (Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker)
2001 Notre Dame 68-66 Purdue Scottrade Centermarker (St. Louis, Missourimarker)
2002 Connecticut 82-70 Oklahoma Alamodomemarker (San Antoniomarker, Texasmarker)
2003 Connecticut 73-68 Tennessee Georgia Domemarker (Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker)
2004 Connecticut 70-61 Tennessee New Orleans Arenamarker (New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker)
2005 Baylormarker 84-62 Michigan State RCA Domemarker (Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker)
2006 Maryland 78-75 (OT) Duke TD Banknorth Gardenmarker (Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker)
2007 Tennessee 59-46 Rutgers Quicken Loans Arenamarker (Cleveland, Ohiomarker)
2008 Tennessee 64-48 Stanford St. Pete Times Forummarker (Tampa, Floridamarker)
2009 Connecticut 76-54 Louisville Scottrade Centermarker (St. Louis, Missourimarker)
2010 Alamodomemarker (San Antoniomarker, Texasmarker)
2011 Lucas Oil Stadiummarker (Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker)
2012 Pepsi Centermarker (Denvermarker, Coloradomarker)
2013 New Orleans Arenamarker (New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker)
2014 Sommet Centermarker (Nashville, Tennesseemarker)
2015 St. Pete Times Forummarker (Tampa, Floridamarker)
2016 Lucas Oil Stadiummarker (Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker)

NCAA championships by school

Wins School Championships
8 Tennessee 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008
6 Connecticut 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009
2 Louisiana Tech 1982, 1988
Southern California 1983, 1984
Stanford 1990, 1992
1 Old Dominion 1985
Texas 1986
Texas Tech 1993
North Carolina 1994
Purdue 1999
Notre Dame 2001
Baylor 2005
Maryland 2006

NCAA Final Fours by school

School Number
Tennessee 18
Louisiana Tech, Connecticut 10
Stanford 8
LSU, Georgia 5
Duke 4
North Carolina, Maryland, Purdue, Old Dominion, Virginia, USC, Texas, Auburn, Western Kentucky 3
Rutgers, Notre Dame, Cheyney St., Missouri St., Long Beach St., Oklahoma 2
Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville, Ohio St., Vanderbilt, Iowa, Minnesota, Alabama, NC State, Arkansas,Michigan St., Penn St., Northeast Louisiana 1

Multiple NCAA championship coaches

Coach School Championships
Pat Summitt Tennessee 8
Geno Auriemma Connecticut 6
Tara VanDerveer Stanford 2

See also


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