The ninth-ranked Duke women’s basketball team received its 23rd overall NCAA Tournament selection Monday. The Blue Devils (27-5) were seeded No. 2 in the Bridgeport Region and will play 15th-seeded Hampton (19-12) in the first round Saturday, March 18 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and will tip at 9:00 p.m.
The Blue Devils have earned one of the top eight seeds in 15 out of the last 17 years in the NCAA Tournament and has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in five out of the last seven years.
Hampton is making its ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and is coming off winning the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship by upsetting top-seeded Bethune-Cookman, 52-49. Head coach David Six now owns six MEAC titles since 2010. On the season, the Lady Pirates have been led by Malia Tate-DeFreitas (17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds), Monnazjea Finney-Smith (12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds) and Kaylah Lupoe (8.0 points, 5.9 rebounds).
Duke and Hampton will meet for the sixth time in school history and the third time in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils lead the series with a 5-0 record and last faced the Lady Pirates on March 24, 2013 with Duke earning a 67-51 victory in Durham.
The winner of the Duke/Hampton game will advance to face the winner of the No. 7 seed Temple vs. No. 10 seed Oregon game, which will tip at 6:30 p.m. The second round contest will be played Monday, March 20 in Cameron Indoor Stadium (time TBD).
Temple (24-7)received an at-large selection in the NCAA Tournament and will be making its 11th appearance. The Owls have been paced by Feyond Fitzgerald (17.3 points, 3.5 rebounds), Alliya Butts (15.1 points, 84 treys), Donnaizh Fountain (14.1 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Tanaya Atkinson (13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds) on the year.
Oregon enters the NCAA Tournament with a 20-13 overall record and was awarded an at-large bid to the dance. The Ducks are making their 13th appearance in NCAA action and have been led by Ruthy Hebard (14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds), Sabrina Ionescu (14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds) and Lexi Bando (10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds).
The Blue Devils received an at-large invitation to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, after totaling a 27-5 overall and 13-3 league mark record on the season. Duke is currently ranked No. 9 nationally in the Associated Press ledger, after advancing to the ACC Championship. In the latest NCAA RPI, the Blue Devils are No. 8 nationally, while boasting seven wins against top 50 teams in RPI.
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie, who was the 2013, 2012 and 2010 ACC Coach of the Year, has guided the Blue Devils to another standout season in 2016-17. Duke went from being unranked to No. 9 in the final Associated Press top 25, which was the largest jump from preseason to final poll in school history.
Entering the 2017 NCAAs, the Blue Devils own an all-time record of 55-22 in NCAA Tournament play. The Blue Devils have won 21 out of the last 22 NCAA Tournament contests in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 16 out of the last 19 years and reached the NCAA Final Four in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006. As a conference, the ACC received seven bids in 2017 — Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Florida State, Louisville, Miami and NC State. It is the third time in the last four years at least seven ACC teams have earned berths in the Big Dance, and 10th time in the last 13 year at least six teams have been selected.
Tickets can be purchased by heading to www.GoDuke.com.com or calling the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-2583.
Duke Quotes Follow Selection Show
Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
“We’re excited and hungry – it’s a long wait. But you just take it one game at a time.”
“It’s pretty special. It’s a reward for our fans and the support we’ve had all year. And it’s a reward for our team. We love playing in Cameron.”
“The seeds are definitely a reward for your body of work. I think with our RPI finishing at eight, we were going to be a two or a three. That’s just kind of a nice thing. It doesn’t really count for anything except for a reflection on the body of work prior. Now it’s a new season and we start all over again. I’m just excited for the team.”
“Tournament experience is extremely valuable, and I think Lexie understands how to take it one game at a time. Anytime you make it to the Final Four you understand the principle very well. And I definitely think that she can help her team focus and let them know the battle that it is because it’s definitely a winner’s tournament. All these teams are very good and they’ll be ready to play.”
Redshirt Junior Rebecca Greenwell
“I was just really excited. I was a little surprised that we got a two seed, but I think that’s great for us because of the change we’ve had since last year. I think we’re all excited to get started.”
“It’s definitely a tough region. There’s a lot of competition. Obviously UConn is in there – they’re a great team. It’s going to be a tough road, but if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.”
“We went undefeated at home this season so we want to continue that trend. It’s going to be great – I’m excited to play in Cameron.”
Redshirt Junior Lexie Brown
“Definitely excited. We weren’t really expecting to be a two seed so that’s a really nice feeling, to get a better seed than you’re expecting. But we’re not satisfied with that. We know how hard we worked to get that seed and I’m just really proud of the entire team.”
“We played to defeat the odds. They counted us out before the season even started. So just the little stuff that we took over time, we just worked hard the entire season to show our toughness.”
“Being at home is a huge advantage. Our fans are awesome and we just love playing in Cameron. It’s such an intimate environment and we love playing there, playing for each other and playing for the fans.”
“We set a goal this year for us to not have what happened to us last year happen this year. We worked extremely hard to achieve that goal. And I’m really excited for our sophomores since last year they weren’t able to experience March Madness.”
“The biggest thing about the NCAA Tournament is taking it one game at a time. Everybody’s record is 0-0. Everyone’s refreshed, everyone has fresh legs. People have time away between tournaments to get their thoughts together and all that kind of stuff. You can’t look too far ahead and you’ve got to play with all the confidence in the world because everyone is playing for the same championship now.”