Women's Basketball Earns its First Trip to the NCAA Tournament in 30 Years
SAN ANTONIO – The Washington State women's basketball team will be dancing into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 seasons, as the Cougars earned an at-large-bid to the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on Monday, March 15.
WSU was selected as a No. 9-seed in the Mercado Region and will play No. 8-seed South Florida in the Round of 64 on Sunday, March 21, in Austin, Texas. The Cougs will take on the Bulls this Sunday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. PT at the Frank Erwin Center on the campus of the University of Texas-Austin. The game will air live on ESPN 2.
The Cougars earned an at-large bid after collecting their sixth winning season in program history during the NCAA era. Washington State went 12-11 in a 2020-21 season that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WSU, which was picked last in the Pac-12 preseason polls, finished Pac-12 play with nine league wins, the second-most Pac-12 wins in program history. The Cougs ended the season with a NET ranking of 45 and collected a pair of wins against top-10 teams during the season to help them earn an at-large bid.
"It's hard to process the fact that we got into the NCAA Tournament. What an exciting moment for our team," said head coach Kamie Ethridge. "A lot of Cougs fans have been out there watching us this season that are really proud and excited for this program. I just love our story. The fact that we have only been to one NCAA Tournament ever and we wait exactly 30 years later to play in our next one is a neat story. We want to become relevant in women's college basketball and become a household-name across the country. This is the first step, to get into the NCAA Tournament and make some waves. We're going to play a great South Florida team."
The Washington State women's basketball team punches its ticket into the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in program history. It marks the first time since the 1990-91 season that the Cougars earned a bid into The Big Dance. WSU was selected as the No. 11-seed in the Midwest Region in the 1991 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. It was a short-stay of the Cougs, as they were knocked out in the first round after falling to No. 6-seed Northwestern, 82-62, in Evanston, Illinois.
South Florida won the 2021 American Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season and tournament titles. The Bulls come into the NCAA Tournament with an 18-3 record and were ranked No. 18 in this week's USA Today/WBCA poll and No. 19 in the Associated Press poll.
Washington State has matched up with South Florida once in program history. The last time the two teams played one another came on Nov. 24, 2017 at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Ft. Meyers, Florida. USF claimed the 82-45 victory.
Tickets will not be sold for the first two rounds of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Ticket information for the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and National Championship rounds will be announced at a later date.
For all the latest information on the Washington State women's basketball team, follow @WSUCougarsWBB on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.