PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – After losing on a buzzer-beater in the West Coast Conference Tournament against Gonzaga last week, it appeared as though BYU women’s basketball team’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament were slim at best.
But on Monday, the Cougars’ Big Dance dreams came true, as they earned at-large bid as an 11-seed and will play 6th-seeded Rutgers next Monday at 10 a.m. MT in San Marcos, Texas in San.
“We’re really excited,” said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. “I think we deserve this. We played a good schedule and beat people in front of us. Rutgers is a really good team and is really well coached. They have one of the most respected and legendary coaches (in C. Vivian Stringer). So, it’ll be a great opportunity for us.”
BYU (18-5) is going to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last ten years and 14th time overall.
The Cougars’ most recent trip to the tournament was in 2019, when No. 7 seed BYU defeated No. 10 Auburn in the first round before falling to No. 2 Stanford in the Round of 32.
The Cougars and Rutgers have never faced each other in women’s basketball. The Scarlet Knights have now earned 26 NCAA Tournament bids throughout their history, dating back to 1986. Rutgers has reached the Final Four twice and was the national runner-up in 2007.
Rutgers (14-4) finished in third place in the Big Ten regular season standings with a league record of 10-3.
Utah Valley earned its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines will face #1 seed Stanford on Sunday at 8:00 MT in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I’m thrilled for our for our team to be able to experience this. It’s a little bit different NCAA Tournament than normal, but I’m just really happy for our team to get to have this experience,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson. “Obviously Stanford is a great team. Coach Tara VanDerveer is a Hall-of-Fame coach and a legend, but we’re excited to go compete against them and give them everything we’ve got.”
UVU (13-6) finished second in the Western Athletic Conference this season, but earned the automatic bid because WAC champion Cal Baptist was not eligible because the university is in year three of a mandatory four-year waiting period after transitioning from the Division II ranks.
Stanford (25-2) is ranked second in the nation.