Duke, UNC to host NCAA women's tournament 1st, 2nd rounds
The NCAA on Wednesday named Duke and North Carolina among 16 host sites for its 2014 NCAA women’s basketball tournament first and second round games.
The first- and second-round sites will host games either Saturday, March 22, and Monday, March 24 or Sunday, March 23, and Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Specific site dates will be released later.
Duke will host the first and second rounds for the second straight year and the fourth time over the last five years. The Blue Devils are riding an 18-game winning streak in NCAA Tournament games played in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke owns an all-time record of 20-2 in NCAA Tournament games played at home and has hosted games in Cameron 11 times out of 19 appearances.
UNC has not hosted an NCAA Tournament game since the 2011-12 season. The Tar Heels did not advance to the NCAA field that season and did not play in the tournament.
Other host sites named Wednesday were Ames, Iowa (Iowa State); Baton Rouge, La. (LSU); College Park, Md. (Maryland); College Station, Texas (Texas A&M); Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa); Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee); Lexington, Ky. (Kentucky); Los Angeles, Calif. (UCLA); Seattle, Wash. (Washington); Storrs, Conn. (UConn); Toledo, Ohio (Toledo); University Park, Penn. (Penn State); Waco, Texas (Baylor); and West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue).
Regional sites named Wednesday were Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska); Louisville, Ky. (Louisville); Notre Dame, Ind. (Notre Dame), and Stanford, Calif. (Stanford).
Duke is coming off records of 33-3 overall and 17-1in ACC play last season, when the Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth straight year and won the ACC Championship.
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie and the Blue Devils return all five starters in 2013-14, including 93.7 percent of their scoring. Along with returning All-America selections Chelsea Gray and Elizabeth Williams, Duke welcomes back All-ACC performers Tricia Liston and Haley Peters. Freshman All-America and ACC Tournament MVP Alexis Jones is the final returning starter for Duke.
Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s Tar Heels welcome a four-woman rookie class that made up the nation’s top-ranked high school recruiting class.
“They’re learning a lot right now which is expected, but once in a while you see them do something and you just say ‘wow,’” said Hatchell recently. “On the other hand, the group we have returning is the best they’ve ever been because they’re healthy for the first time.”
The Tar Heels finished 29-7 a year ago, losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Delaware.
NOTES — Regional champions will advance to the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four April 6 and 8 in Nashville, Tenn.’s Bridgestone Arena.