Press Release

Posted by Rachel Margolis on April 4, 2013

2013 ESPN NCAA Women’s Final Four Coverage – April 7 & 9

PRINT VERSIONFILED IN: College Basketball - Women's TAGGED:

Emerging Band Krewella Films Intro Music Video
18th year of exclusive coverage on ESPN; 11th year covering all 63 games

Downloadable photos: http://bit.ly/12ahZHw

ESPN’s NCAA Women’s Final Four Coverage from New Orleans Arena, New Orleans
National Semifinals
– Sunday, April 7: No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 2 California at 6:30 p.m. ET; No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Notre Dame at 8:30 p.m.
National Championship
– Tuesday, April 9: Winner of Semifinal Games at 8:30 p.m.

* – All three games will be simulcast on WatchESPN

Final Four Coverage Plans

  • ESPN teamed with the electro-trio music band Krewella for the intro to the network’s coverage
    • The band shot the video with their hit song “Alive” for hundreds of people in a New Orleans’ Bourbon Street setting at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla.
    • The video incorporates in-tournament highlights plus specialty shots of the four advancing teams and audio from top players and coaches telling the stories of each team
    • Full Release: http://es.pn/13DLWkv; Photo Gallery: http://es.pn/16YxjH7
  • ESPN3 will carry the postgame celebration, trophy presentation and the net cutting
  • Pregame locker room access, in-game head coach interviews and halftime player interviews, along with on-set studio interviews with special guests
  • Conversation about women’s basketball through twitter via @espnWand the #NCAAWFF hashtag:
    • Behind-the-scenes photo gallery of athletes, teams and scenes throughout the tournament at espnW.com/tourneyphotos
  • ESPN’s “photo booth,” which captured video of the teams for use during the 2012 Final Four telecasts returns with all four teams, plus “meet the player” video intros from the booth
  • New segments from conversations between ESPN analyst/reporter Rebecca Lobo and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, as well as ESPN analyst Bob Knight and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma
  • Additional features to run throughout the weekend on all four teams, including a look at the personality of UConn’s Stefanie Dolson’s, respect for Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw and the mentor/mentee relationship between Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins and Jewell Loyd
  • First-year host Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck positioned on a low-level set inside the arena during ESPN’s studio coverage of the semifinals Sunday and the National Championship Tuesday
  • Dave O’Brien works his fourth Women’s Final Four as the play-by-play announcer, joined by eight-year Final Four veteran analyst Doris Burke
  • Lobo returns as a reporter with added responsibilities – as an on-court analyst reporting on special aspects of each game, conducting on-court interviews with players and coaches, and joining the studio coverage
  • Holly Rowe is back for her eighth year as a sideline reporter and Bob Holtzman provides updates for SportsCenter live from New Orleans
  • Several technologies used during the Final Four telecasts include:
    • NAC High-Motion camera that utilizes three chip technology to produce great light sensitivity and flicker reduction and can be used to record exceptional slow motion replays
    • Brenda VanLengen, ESPN play-by-play announcer, operating an ART System (telestrator device) for the third consecutive year; it is also used on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and NBA telecasts
    • The virtual hot zone/shot chart tracking the team’s progress throughout the games
  • 21 game cameras, with the ability to have 23 different positions, plus four cameras focused on the in-arena set:
    • Four point-of-view cameras – select location in the arena
    • Three robotic cameras – one overhead and two below the rim
    • One radio frequency Steadi-Cam and one JIB
    • Two Super slo-mo’s – including the NAC High-Motion camera

ESPN Final Four Commentators
Studio Team

Kevin Negandhi
(First-year host): Negandhi joined ESPN in September 2006 as an anchor for ESPNEWS and currently works the 9 a.m. edition of SportsCenter with Hannah Storm. He enters his first-year as a women’s basketball studio host. Negandhi got his start covering women’s basketball while attending college at Temple, where he was a 1997 graduate.

Kara Lawson (Eighth-year analyst): Lawson is in her 10th year as an analyst for ESPN. She works men’s and women’s college basketball games and as a studio analyst. Lawson led University of Tennessee to three straight Final Fours and was a two-time All-American. She won a gold medal with the 2008 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team in Beijing and will be entering her 11th season with the WNBA – winning a league title in 2005 and currently playing for the Connecticut Sun.

Carolyn Peck (Fifth-year analyst): Peck originally joined ESPN in 2001 as a college and professional basketball analyst, including men’s and women’s college basketball, WNBA and NBA. She continues as a game analyst on men’s and women’s college hoops and the WNBA, as well as a studio analyst. Peck won the 1999 NCAA Championship title as the head coach at Purdue University – becoming the first African-American coach in women’s basketball to do so. She is also the former head coach at the University of Florida and the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle. Peck was a student-athlete at Vanderbilt University.

Game Commentators
Doris Burke (Eighth-year game analyst; 11th overall): Burke began covering basketball for ESPN in 1991, and currently is an analyst on men’s and women’s games and the NBA, as well as a sideline reporter for select telecasts. Burke was a basketball player at Providence College and was named a NCAA 2012 Silver Anniversary Award recipient.

Dave O’Brien (Fourth-year play-by-play): O’Brien joined ESPN in 2002 as a play-by-play announcer working Major League Baseball, college basketball and NBA telecasts. In 2010, O’Brien added the Women’s Final Four to his announcing responsibilities. He is also the radio play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox. A Boston native, O’Brien attended Syracuse University.

Rebecca Lobo (Sixth-year reporter): Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst and reporter. She won an NCAA Championship in 1995 with the University of Connecticut where she was a National Player of the Year and an All-American. In addition, Lobo won a gold medal with the 1996 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team during the Atlanta Olympics and played in the WNBA for seven seasons.

Holly Rowe (Eighth-year reporter): Rowe began working ESPN telecasts in 1995, and joined on a regular-basis in 1998. She primarily covers college football, men’s basketball and softball as a reporter, as well as the NBA and WNBA. Rowe has also provided play-by-play commentary for women’s college basketball, softball and volleyball. She is a graduate of the University of Utah.

SportsCenter Reporter
Bob Holtzman: Holtzman joined ESPN in 2000 as a reporter, primarily handling stories featured in the network’s award-winning news and information franchise – SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Outside the Lines, Baseball Tonight, NBA shows  and others. Holtzman graduated from the University of Kansas.

espnW.com
The site will continue to highlight stories surrounding the Final Four.

  • In-depth and on-site coverage of each team, including features and video analysis from Kate Fagan, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel
  • Women’s Final Four Live – a live chat throughout the semifinals and championship game, featuring tweets and analysis from ESPN’s analysts and espnW contributors
  • Final Four predictions leading into the weekend from espnW’s on-the-ground team
  • Blogs from players still participating in the tournament including Notre Dame’s Diggins, UConn’s Dolson, Cal’s Layshia Clarendon and Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel
  • A Final Four Primer with the X’s and O’s of the games and position-by-position breakdowns by Bracketologist Charlie Creme
  • “Top Moments in UConn/Notre Dame History” including links to top archived games
  • Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli continue their season-long espnW podcast series with a preview and review of the Final Four
  • Full coverage of the NCAA Salute on Parade and the All-America award ceremonies

SportsCenter will present in-depth coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four with on-site set presence featuring Negandhi, Lawson and Peck. Holtzman will provide on-site SportsCenter reports. Features expected to run include: The Notre Dame-Connecticut rivalry; Does Muffet McGraw get enough respect; Louisville players look back – in their own words –  at their historic upset over Baylor; Diggins’ film session with Lobo; Diggins’ Sport Science piece; What does being a freshman at Connecticut mean; and UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ art of shooting.

Women’s Final Four Specials
NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One
: The 30-minute Women’s Final Four preview show hosted by Negandhi, Lawson and Peck from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans will precede the National Semifinals Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. on ESPN and WatchESPN.

Crunch Time: Women’s Tournament: The two-hour show will air Tuesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN will revisit the last few minutes of the best and most exciting games of the NCAA Championship.

The Experts: NCAA Women’s Championship Special: An hour-long round-table show Tuesday, April 9, at 5 p.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN, with Negandhi, Lawson, Peck, Lobo and Burke. The all-star crew will discuss and debate the strengths and weaknesses of both teams playing for the title and give an inside track to victory.

College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special: The 90-minute special, hosted by Matt Schick and analysts Nell Fortner and Brooke Weisbrod, on Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN will highlight and preview the Women’s National Championship title game.

NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One: ESPN and WatchESPN will begin its National Championship game coverage with an hour-long preview special, also hosted by Negandhi, Lawson and Peck, from the New Orleans Arena Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m.

NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Shows & Games/Commentators Networks
Sun, Apr 7 6 p.m. NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson & Carolyn Peck
ESPN / WatchESPN
  6:30 p.m. National Semifinal Game 1 (New Orleans, La.): No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 2 California
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo & Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. National Semifinal Game 2 (New Orleans, La.): No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Notre Dame ESPN / WatchESPN
Tue, Apr 9 4 p.m. Crunch Time: NCAA Women’s Championship ESPNU / WatchESPN
  5 p.m. The Experts: NCAA Women’s Championship
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson, Carolyn Peck, Doris Burke & Rebecca Lobo
ESPNU / WatchESPN
  6 p.m. College Basketball Live: NCAA Women’s Championship
Matt Schick, Nell Fortner & Brooke Weisbrod
ESPNU / WatchESPN
  7:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson & Carolyn Peck
ESPN / WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. National Final (New Orleans, La.):
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo & Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN

WatchESPN
WatchESPN continues its coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One heading into the Final Four and up to the NCAA National Championship game on Tuesday. All 63 games in the tournament are accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. Additionally, ESPN3 will carry the post-game celebration live exclusively following the conclusion of the Championship game. WatchESPN is available in 55 million households nationwide to fans of an affiliated video provider, including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter and AT&T U-verse.

ESPN International networks will offer the national semifinals and title game to fans on ESPN Africa, ESPN America (Europe), ESPN Brazil HD, ESPN Caribbean, ESPN Latin HD, ESPN Latin North, ESPN Latin South, ESPN Middle East and ESPN Pac Rim.

ESPNFrontRow.com will once again provide behind-the-scenes features centered on ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Final Four. Highlights include a unique look at the Krewella intro shoot, ESPN’s game integration of espnW and the Twitter life of star reporter Holly Rowe.

ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge
Several statistics highlight ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge and the teams that advanced to the Final Four.

  • Only 0.014 percent of Women’s Tournament Challenge brackets got all four Women’s Final Four teams correct
  • Another 7.3 percent of brackets got three of four teams in the Women’s Final Four
  • President Obama’s bracket currently sits in the 94.7th percentile in the game, although his national champion (Baylor) is out of the tournament
  • Percent of brackets picking the national champion:
    • Baylor: 57.5 percent
    • Notre Dame: 15.1 percent
    • Connecticut: 10.4 percent
    • Stanford: 5.9 percent
  • Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the national title game:
    • Baylor: 77.3 percent
    • Notre Dame: 48.4 percent
    • Connecticut: 33.7 percent
    • Stanford: 12.3 percent

ESPN Classic will feature a marathon of games featuring past champions, plus a day-long series of previous Connecticut vs. Notre Dame matchups.

ESPN Classic NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game
Sun, Apr 7 7:30 a.m. Knight & Auriemma: A Coaches Conversation
  8 a.m. 2001 BIG EAST Championship Final: Notre Dame vs. Connecticut
  10 a.m. 2001 NCAA National Semifinal: Connecticut vs. Notre Dame
  Noon 2012 NCAA National Semifinal: Connecticut vs. Notre Dame
  2 p.m. 2013 BIG EAST Championship Final: Connecticut vs. Notre Dame
  6 p.m. 2013 Regular-Season 3-Overtime Game: Connecticut at Notre Dame
Tue, Apr 9 Midnight 2003 NCAA National Championship: Tennessee vs. Connecticut
  2 a.m. 2000 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Connecticut vs. Tennessee
  7 a.m. 2009 NCAA National Championship: Louisville vs. Connecticut  
  9 a.m. 2011 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M
  11 a.m. 2008 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Stanford vs. Tennessee
  1 p.m. 2004 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Connecticut vs. Tennessee
  3 p.m. 2010 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Stanford vs. Connecticut  
  5 p.m. 2012 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Baylor

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