Md. Women's Basketball: Road to Final Four Goes Through Connecticut

WASHINGTON — Despite a 30-2 record and a No. 4 ranking in the final Associated Press poll of the season, the Maryland women’s basketball team gets a No. 3 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins will open play Friday in College Park against Patriot League champion Bucknell, with No. 6 seed West Virginia facing Elon in the other game at Xfinity Center.

The two winners will meet Sunday.

Looming atop the Bridgeport bracket is four-time defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Connecticut, who handed the Terps one of their two losses this winter: an 87-81 decision in December at Xfinity Center. Maryland’s other loss during the season was to co-Big Ten regular season champ Ohio State.

Also in the region as the No. 2 seed is former ACC rival Duke, led by ex-Maryland guard Lexie Brown. The redshirt-junior currently leads the Blue Devils in scoring, assists and steals.

In order to even get to the second weekend though, Maryland must beat two conference tournament champions. Bucknell (27-5) topped Navy 79-71 in overtime to win the Patriot League, earning their first NCAA bid in nine years. The Bison enter the tournament having won 10 straight. The other first round pairing features Big 12 winner West Virginia and Elon; the 23-10 Mountaineers beat three top 20 teams (including then-No. 2 Baylor) in three days to capture its first tournament title since joining the league, while the 27-6 Phoenix took the Colonial Athletic Association by topping the only team to beat them in conference play (James Madison).

Maryland will have home-court advantage Friday as the Terps will be hosting the first two rounds for the seventh straight year. Coach Brenda Frese’s team is 12-2 over that stretch; last March’s defeat to the eventual Regional champion Washington snapped an 11-game home NCAA Tournament winning streak.

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