The GW women’s basketball team did not need to wait long Sunday evening to find out if it had been selected as one of 64 teams in the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
Just five minutes into ESPN’s selection show, in the first bracket announced, the Colonial women discovered they were chosen as the 10th seed in the tournament’s East Region.
“I am happy with the seed in that this year we didn’t have the wins we had last year, so it’s hard to say you should be a three or four seed,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “When you get a 10 seed, that says you are in the top 40 teams in the country, which is where we are this year.”
After the announcement a celebratory atmosphere filled the Top 20 Club of the Smith Center, where the team, coaches and supporters of the Colonial women had gathered to watch the selection show. After losing to Virginia Tech in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament last Sunday, the Colonial women’s hopes of making it to the postseason were in the hands of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, which is charged with filling out the NCAA Tournament’s field each year.
“I hope everybody took a bubble bath before they came here,” GW McKeown told the crowd gathered in the Top 20 Club, referring to GW’s status as one of the teams that was “on the bubble” in regards to making it into the tournament as an at-large bid.
The Colonial women (19-9, 12-4 Atlantic 10) will face the University of Georgia, the seventh seed in the East, Friday, March 13 or Saturday, March 14 at the University of Connecticut’s home court in the first round of the tournament.
If GW wins its first round game, it most likely would face first-round host Connecticut, the second seed in the East.
The NCAA Tournament has been kind to the Colonial women in recent years. GW has made the tournament the last five years and seven of the last eight, with a record of 9-6 in NCAA Tournament play.
Last season saw GW make its best run in postseason play as the team reached the “Elite Eight” of the NCAAs. GW, the fifth seed in the East a season ago, won three games in the tournament and beat the University of North Carolina, the East’s number one seed in 1997, to reach the regional finals.
The Atlantic 10 was well represented in this year’s tournament, as two other teams joined GW in the 64-team field. Virginia Tech, the A-10 conference champion, was selected as the 11th seed in the West Region, while Massachusetts was given the 13th seed in the West.
Before the selection show began, McKeown also told the crowd his team had practiced that same day in case it made it into the field of 64.
“You have to practice,” McKeown said. “Any time you are on the bubble you can’t just stop playing. We haven’t played since last Sunday, and you can’t go a week without doing anything. Now we have an opportunity to come back tomorrow and get ready to compete for a national championship, and that’s what it’s all about.”