Connecticut s quest for the fifth perfect season in NCAA history will begin at home.
The undefeated Huskies earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA women s basketball tournament Monday night and will open against Vermont at Storrs.
Nine teams have entered the NCAA tournament unbeaten; only four have emerged unscathed. UConn and coach Geno Auriemma were the last in 2002.
Oklahoma, Maryland, and Duke earned the other three No. 1 seeds. The Sooners are in the Oklahoma City regional, the Terrapins are headed to Raleigh and the Blue Devils will make the cross-country trek to Berkeley.
Tennessee also extended its run as the only team to make every NCAA tournament but earned a No. 5 its lowest seed ever, guaranteeing a tough road to a third consecutive title.
The Final Four is scheduled for the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on April 5 and 7.
Duke potentially must beat No. 2 Stanford in the regional finals to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2006. The Blue Devils play Austin Peay in the first round at Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie s former school. She could meet up with the Spartans in the second round if they can beat Middle Tennessee State.
If all goes right, Duke could face former coach Gail Goestenkors and Texas in the regional finals.
The Huskies (33-0), who have run through their opponents this season winning by an average of 31 points, will be looking for their sixth national championship. A potentially second-round opponent for UConn is former assistant coach Tonya Cardoza and Temple. The Owls must beat Florida to meet the Huskies.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said she was not surprised her team received a No. 5 seed. Tennessee (22-10) had only been seeded fourth once in 1986. The team also took 10 losses into the tournament in 1997, grabbing a No. 3 seed and winning the title.
The Lady Vols have been a fixture atop the bracket since the first NCAA tournament in 1982. They ve earned a top seed 19 times, a No. 2 seed four times and No. 3 seed three times. Tennessee has advanced to the regional semis every season.
This time, they ll play Ball State in their opener.
That region s No. 2 seed Stanford will meet UC Santa Barbara in the Cardinal s opener.
In other games, it s Ohio State vs. Sacred Heart; Iowa State vs. East Tennessee State; Texas vs. Mississippi State; DePaul vs. San Diego State; and Middle Tennessee State vs. Michigan State.
The field went back to 16 first and second round sites for the first time since 2004, when it set an attendance record.
Maryland earned its top seed after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles. The Terps (28-4), who won the national title in 2006, will face Ivy League champion Dartmouth on Sunday at home in the opening round.
Big 12 champion Baylor earned the No. 2 seed in Raleigh and will play UT-San Antonio. In other games: Louisville vs. Liberty; Vanderbilt vs. W. Carolina; Kansas State vs. Drexel; LSU vs. Green Bay; South Dakota State vs. TCU; Villanova vs. Utah.
Despite losing in the Big 12 semifinals, the Oklahoma Sooners earned the No. 1 seed in the Oklahoma City region. Senior center Courtney Paris, who set an NCAA record with 112 straight double-doubles, has guaranteed she will pay back her scholarship if she doesn t lead the Sooners to a title.
That path to the championship for the Sooners begins Sunday, when the team opens against Southwestern champion Prairie View A&M in Iowa City. Oklahoma could face host Iowa in the second round if the Hawkeyes can beat Georgia Tech.
In the other half of the region Auburn earned the second seed and will face Patriot League champion Lehigh, making its first appearance since 1997, in the opening round. The Tigers will travel up to Piscataway, N.J., where Rutgers faces tournament newcomer Virginia Commonwealth.
In other games in the Oklahoma City region, it s North Carolina vs. UCF; Pittsburgh vs. Montana; Xavier vs. Gonzaga; Purdue vs. Charlotte; and Iowa vs. Georgia Tech.
Evansville became the seventh team with a losing record to make the field of 64 with its last-second upset victory over Creighton in the Missouri Valley title game Sunday. They ll play No. 2 seed Texas A&M.
In other Trenton regional games, it s Florida State vs. North Carolina A&T; California vs. Fresno State; Virginia vs. Marist; Arizona State vs. Georgia; Notre Dame vs. Minnesota; Florida vs. Temple.
Four teams will be making their first appearance in the NCAAs Ball State, Drexel, South Dakota State, and Virginia Commonwealth.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.