The GW women’s basketball team will play Mississippi in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday March 20. The No. 9 seed Colonials play No. 8 seed Lady Rebels in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Mississippi went 19-10 this season, is a member of South Eastern Conference. GW (22-8) and Ole Miss have never faced each other.
“They are very good team and similar to our team,” GW coach Joe McKeown said. “They have been overlooked nationally just like us but are very dangerous.”
This is the third straight season the Colonials will be playing in the NCAA tournament and second straight year they received an at-large bid. Under McKeown, the Colonials have reached the Big Dance 12 out of 16 seasons, including five out of the last six years.
If the Colonials advance to the second round, they could face No.1 seed North Carolina on their home floor. GW knocked off the Tar Heels in 1997 to advance to the Elite Eight.
“The pressure would be on North Carolina due to their seed,” McKeown said. “I am excited about this bracket, it’s a tough bracket but if you are going to go deep you are going to have to beat a number one seed.”
Chapel Hill is relatively close to the District, at least closer than last year, when the Colonials lost their tourney opener in Tallahassee, Fla.
“It’s great for our fans and it will be nice to have some fans at the game,” McKeown said. “This is the closet we have been in a while.”
Last year the Colonials struggled and got bounced in the first round, losing to DePaul 83-46.
The Colonials hosted a celebration at the Hippodrome during the selection show, where fans came to celebrate the at-large bid. The GW pep-band and cheerleaders were among the 150 people who had foot and drink and celebrated with the team.
For seniors Anna Montanana and Liz Dancause, this will be their third and final trip to the tourney.
“They have had great careers, four 20 win seasons and played in the postseason ever year,” McKeown said. “We want to cap it off with a run in the NCAA Tournament but you have to take it one at a time.”
The A-10 received three bids, including two at-larges. Temple, which defeated GW in the conference championship game, is a No. 6 seed and will play Louisiana Tech in the Philadelphia bracket. Richmond (No. 11) will face (No. 6) Florida State in the Kansas City regional.
Andrew Snow contributed to this report.