Press Release

Posted by Rachel Margolis on March 18, 2014

ESPN Networks to Present Entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship

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Downloadable Women’s College Basketball Photos

Downloadable Women’s College Basketball Tournament Schedule and Maps

Undefeated Connecticut and Notre Dame First-Round Games to Air in Full National Windows on ESPN

14_WFF_c_300The entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One will air across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, WatchESPN and ESPN FULL COURT beginning with first-round action on Saturday, March 22. Play culminates with the NCAA Women’s National Championship game on Tuesday, April 8, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN in Nashville, Tenn.

Undefeated and top-seeded Notre Dame’s and Connecticut’s “Pursuit of Perfection” will be on display with their first-round games airing in full national windows on ESPN and WatchESPN. No. 1 seed Notre Dame will play No. 16 seed Robert Morris from Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday, March 22, at 1:30 p.m., while UConn will play at home against No. 16 Prairie View A&M on Sunday, March 23, at 8 p.m.

Most of the first- and second-round tournament games will be televised on ESPN2 – with the exception of the Sunday 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. windows – within 12 telecast windows in a regionalized format with home market protection. ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer complete games as a supplement to the regionalized coverage. The final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2, as well as WatchESPN.

WatchESPN is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox, Apple TV and Roku via WatchESPN to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Additional NCAA Championship content will be available across multiple platforms, including espnW.com, SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and ESPN International.

First and Second Round – Regionalized & Home Market Protection
Coverage Highlights
Commentator Highlights
espnW
First and Second Round Schedule
Regional Schedule
Final Four Schedule
Thoughts from Selection Monday

First and Second Rounds – Regionalized & Home Market Protection

  • In the home markets of the competing teams, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game of local interest. While constant updates from the other games will be provided in the home market, the networks will not switch to another game during live action, thereby establishing home market protection.
  • For the first and second rounds, multiple games (as many as four) will begin within one telecast window. During those windows, the coverage will showcase the best action for viewers in the majority of the nation (except in the home markets of the competing teams).
  • ESPN3 and WatchESPN will also provide coverage of the first- and second-round games.

Coverage Highlights

  • Connecticut and Notre Dame’s “Pursuit of Perfection” explored through vignettes, as well as elements and graphics on the historical significance of having the perfect season. Both UConn’s Geno Auriemma and ND’s Muffet McGraw speak about the rivalry and pursuing perfection.
  • Continuation of ESPN’s “Need to Know” series – elevating five stars in the women’s game, who have made a significant impact this season: Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Breanna Stewart (UConn) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland).
  • As ESPN prepares for the Final Four in Nashville, a hint of the Music City in tease and bump elements with posters created for specific teams and players in the traditional Nashville style.
  • Connie Britton of ABC’s hit drama series “Nashville” voiced “The Only Way I Know” — originally recorded by Jason Aldean featuring Luke Bryant and Eric Church — to be used throughout ESPN’s Selection Show and tournament telecasts. “Nashville” airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
  • espnW Tourney Snapshots (photos from game sites) featured throughout the telecasts.
  • Interact on twitter via @espnW and #NCAAW for the first, second and regional rounds and @espnW and #NCAAWFF for the final weekend.

Commentator Highlights

espnW.com
News, analysis and commentary will be provided throughout the women’s tournament, from Selection Monday through the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tenn. Highlights:

  • Columnists will provide live coverage of each round of games from coast-to-coast, with video highlights of the matchups.
  • ESPN analyst Lobo will contribute.
  • Coverage of five top players in ESPN’s Need to Know initiative will continue.
  • Stats, analysis and stories on additional players to watch.
  • Tourney Snapshots, which includes team- and fan-submitted social media photos and video with behind-the-scenes access to teams, players and coaches, will return for the second consecutive season.
  • Student-athlete bloggers will include Stefanie Dolson (UConn), Maggie Lucas (Penn St), Ogwumike (Stanford), Becca Greenwell (Duke), Mikayla Lyles (Cal) and Chloe Pavlech (Maryland).
  • Women’s Tournament Challenge is where fans and experts alike can pick their brackets and earn points throughout the tournament.
  • espnW.com staff and a handful of WNBA players will face off in an Women’s Tournament Challenge group.

2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One First and Second Round Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Game / Commentators Networks
Sat, Mar 22 11 a.m. First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 15 Winthrop at No. 2 Duke
(Durham, N.C.)
Mark Jones & LaChina Robinson
  No. 14 Wright State at No. 3 Kentucky
(Lexington, Ky.)
Marc Kestecher & Brooke Weisbrod
  No. 9 Arizona State vs. No. 8 Vanderbilt
(Toledo, Ohio.)
Beth Mowins & Stephanie White
  No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State (West Lafayette, Ind.)
Melissa Lee & Jimmy Dykes
  Approx. 30 minutes
after end of 11 a.m.
First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 10 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 DePaul
(Durham, N.C.)
  No. 11 Chattanooga vs. No. 6 Syracuse
(Lexington, Ky.)
  No. 13 Akron at No. 4 Purdue
(West Lafayette, Ind.)
  No. 16 Robert Morris vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
(Toledo, Ohio.)
ESPN / WatchESPN
  4 p.m. First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 10 Florida State at No. 7 Iowa
(Ames, Iowa)
Clay Matvick & Fran Fraschilla
  No. 16 Northwestern State at No. 1 Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Joe Davis & Maria Taylor
  No. 13 Fresno State vs. No. 4 Nebraska
(Los Angeles, Calif.)
Dave Pasch & Doris Burke
  No. 10 Fordham vs. No. 7 California
(Waco, Texas)
Pam Ward & Carolyn Peck
  Approx. 30 minutes after end of 4 p.m. First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 15 South Dakota vs. No. 2 Stanford
(Ames, Iowa)
  No. 9 Southern Cal vs. No. 8 St. John’s
(Knoxville, Tenn.)
  No. 12 BYU vs. No. 5 NC State
(Los Angeles, Calif.)
  No. 15 Western Kentucky at No. 2 Baylor
(Waco, Texas)
Sun, Mar 23 Noon First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 10 Georgia Tech at No. 7 LSU
(Baton Rouge, La.)
Cara Capuano & Nell Fortner
  No. 12 Hampton vs. No. 5 Michigan State
(Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Tom Hart & Mary Murphy
  No. 13 Army at No. 4 Maryland
(College Park, Md.)
Bob Wischusen & Christy Winters-Scott
  No. 14 Wichita State at No. 3 Penn State
(University, Park, Pa.)
Bob Picozzi & Krista Blunk
  3 p.m. First Round ESPN / ESPN3
  No. 15 Albany vs. No. 2 West Virginia
(Baton Rouge, La.)
  No. 13 Tennessee-Martin at No. 4 North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
  No. 12 Penn vs. No. 5 Texas
(College Park, Md.)
  No. 11 Florida vs. No. 6 Dayton
(University Park, Pa.) 
5:30 p.m. First Round  ESPN / ESPN3
No. 11 James Madison vs. No. 6 Gonzaga(College Station, Texas)
Carter Blackburn & Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
No. 14 Idaho vs. No. 3 Louisville
(Iowa City, Iowa)
Holly Rowe & Brenda VanLengen
No. 16 Cal State Northridge at No. 1 South Carolina (Seattle, Wash.)
Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham
No.  9 St. Joseph’s vs. No. 8 Georgia
(Storrs, Conn.)
Dave O’Brien & Debbie Antonelli
  8 p.m. First Round ESPN2 / ESPN3
  No. 14 North Dakota at No. 3 Texas A&M
(College Station, Texas)
  No. 11 Marist at No. 6 Iowa
(Iowa City, Iowa)
  No. 9 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Middle Tennessee State (Seattle, Wash.)
  No. 16 Prairie View A&M at No. 1 Connecticut (Storrs, Conn.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Mon, Mar 24 6:30 p.m. Second Round
(Durham, N.C., Lexington, Ky., Toledo, Ohio, West Lafayette, Ind.)
ESPN2 / ESPN3
  9 p.m. Second Round
(Ames, Iowa, Knoxville, Tenn., Los Angeles, Calif., Waco, Texas)
ESPN2 / ESPN3
Tue, Mar 25 7 p.m. Second Round
(Chapel Hill, N.C., College Park, Md., Storrs, Conn., University Park, Pa.)
ESPN2 / ESPN3
  9:30 p.m. Second Round
(Baton Rouge, La., College Station, Texas, Iowa City, Iowa, Seattle, Wash.)
ESPN2 / ESPN3

2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One Regional Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Sat, Mar 29 Noon Regional Semifinal (South Bend, Ind.)
Beth Mowins, Stephanie White & Maria Taylor
ESPN / WatchESPN
  2:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (South Bend, Ind.) ESPN / WatchESPN
  4:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Lincoln, Neb.)
Pam Ward, Carolyn Peck & LaChina Robinson
ESPN / WatchESPN
  7 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Lincoln, Neb.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Sun, Mar 30 Noon Regional Semifinal (Louisville, Ky.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN
  2:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Louisville, Ky.) ESPN2 / WatchESPN
  4:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Stanford, Calif.)
Dave Pasch, Debbie Antonelli & Brooke Weisbrod
ESPN2 / WatchESPN
  7 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Stanford, Calif.) ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Mon, Mar 31 7:30 p.m. Regional Final (South Bend, Ind.)
ESPN / WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Regional Final (Lincoln, Neb.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Tue, Apr 1 7 p.m. Regional Final (Louisville, Ky.) ESPN / WatchESPN
  9 p.m. Regional Final (Stanford, Calif.) ESPN / WatchESPN

2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One Final Four Schedule (subject to change)

Sun, Apr 6 6 p.m. NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson & Rebecca Lobo
ESPN / WatchESPN
  6:30 p.m. National Semifinal Game 1 (Nashville, Tenn.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN
  9 p.m. National Semifinal Game 2 (Nashville, Tenn.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Tue, Apr 8 5 p.m. The Experts: NCAA Women’s Championship ESPNU / WatchESPN
  6 p.m. College Basketball Live: NCAA Women’s Championship Special ESPNU / WatchESPN
  7:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson & Rebecca Lobo
ESPN / WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. National Final (Nashville, Tenn.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN

Thoughts from Selection Monday
After the bracket was exclusively revealed on ESPN during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Monday Special Presented by Capital One on March 17, ESPN analysts of Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo, along with espnW.com writer Mechelle Voepel offered insight into the bracket with analysis of each region, teams, plus the players to watch as they vie for a Final Four spot in Nashville. Highlights:

Lobo on upsetting UConn in the Lincoln bracket
I’m looking at the top of the bracket and the potential matchup between the No. 1 and No. 4 seed in Connecticut and Nebraska. In order to pull an upset over a big-time team, you have to look at what Louisville did against Baylor last year, and that is make a lot of 3’s. This is a Nebraska team that has a lot of players that can hit 3’s. We saw what they did against Penn State during the regular season in making seven in the first half alone, so this could be an interesting matchup, with Nebraska playing at home as well.

Lawson on Louisville receiving a three seed
If you watch Louisville play, they were one of the top five teams in the country coming into this NCAA Tournament. Maybe they had some numbers that were not as good as some of the other teams, but a three seed is going to motivate them. [Louisville head coach] Jeff Walz loves nothing more than to take on that underdog role. Last year they made it to the Final Four as a four seed, so this season we will see what they can do.

Lawson on Stanford success without winning title
Coming out of the west there are some inherent advantages for the Stanford Cardinal. But I think when you look at this team, specifically this year, Chiney Ogwumike has been amazing. She has had an All-America type season.

Voepel on biggest surprise of bracket
Stanford not getting the one seed, when you look at their strength of schedule was vs. South Carolina… You would think [head coach] Tara VanDerveer would use this as a little bit of fuel… She is going to play we were not respected enough card.

Lobo on biggest surprise in bracket
Because of the selection committees’ desire to protect the one seed, and not have any one seeds travel to play on a lower seeds home floor in that first round, there are a few two seeds that have to do that. You look at West Virginia and Stanford as being two of those, so you really try to protect those one seeds, but then the two seeds have a really tough road ahead.

Lawson on South Carolina as No. 1 seed
Don’t let the last game of the regular season, a loss at Tennessee and the loss in the SEC Tournament fool you. They have been a legit one seed all season long because of their consistency.

Lawson on Tennessee
They have great balance; this is a team that is focused and been consistent. What encourages me about this group is the run they had at the end of the season, the confidence they must be playing with right now. They are as prepared as they been in the last few years to make a Final Four.

Lawson on potential UConn vs. Notre Dame national title matchup
There is a reason why a lot of people want to see an undefeated team vs. an undefeated team in the National Championship. It is because the two teams are UConn vs. Notre Dame. If you look at the drama we have had in these games, the players and the stars over the last few years, that is what everything is pointing to in Nashville, a matchup of these two titans.

Teams that could surprise
Lobo:
Louisville could do it again; they still have [head coach] Jeff Walz and the Schimmel sisters. They could get it done.
Lawson: North Carolina – this is a team that is a four seed. They have one of the best freshmen in the country, probably the best freshmen in the country in Diamond DeShields.

Final thoughts on the bracket
Voepel:
I hate to pick the four No. 1 seeds to make the Final Four, but I think that is what I am going to pick… even this young South Carolina team.
Lawson: A lot of the country is looking forward to UConn vs. Notre Dame [in the National Championship game] and it would shock me if there was a different team in the National Championship game.
Lobo: I would agree [with that UConn vs. Notre Dame in National Championship game is likely,] but if you have to look at one region, it’s the Louisville region and potential upsets there. First, Louisville, they pulled it off last year and I think this is a really good, experienced West Virginia team that could make some noise coming out of that bracket.

Committee Chair Carolayne Henry on Stanford not getting one seed
It was a difficult task in placing the teams in the bracket, and looking at Stanford and the No. 1 line, one of the things that stood out was none of the teams had losses above 50. And Stanford, who obviously had a great season, had that one loss that was at 89.

Henry on UConn as overall one seed over Notre Dame
This one was another challenging issue the committee faced. When we looked at Connecticut and Notre Dame, we looked at Connecticut’s 34 wins this season and significant wins over multiple top 25 opponents, and we gave them that slight edge.

Henry on Louisville as No. 3 seed
One of the things that stood out with them [Louisville] was that they had the two top 50 wins. And you look at West Virginia and they had the seven top 50 wins. And it is just really challenging if a team can’t get in enough top 50 teams, let alone enough top 50 wins. I think in this case, Louisville with the two top 50 wins but with just six top 50 games, put them at a slight disadvantage. 

Henry on Nebraska at No. 4 seed vs. Penn State at a No. 3 seed
We looked at their [Penn State] entire resume throughout the season. They were the Big Ten regular-season champions; they came in with a 13 RPI and 13th strength of schedule, and they did not have any losses above 100. In looking at Nebraska, they won the Big Ten Tournament, and they came in with a 19 RPI and, I believe, a 61 strength of schedule, and they did have that one loss over 100, at 108.

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw on not meeting UConn this year
We were disappointed they were not able to fit us in their schedule this year. It was very unusual to go the whole year without playing; we were so used to it. Playing three times every year, we’ve gotten pretty used to beating them the last couple of years. It is going to be an exciting NCAA tournament.

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey on not being able to coach the team’s first-round game
I have not talked to the team in depth about me not coaching in the first game. I am going to watch it on television at home. I will be at all the other parts of the game day, as the NCAA has told me I am allowed to. I can even scout the other two teams when they play, but I won’t even be in the gym that day to do that. We are going to prepare them, I have a tremendous coaching staff, and as I tell the players all the time, something can happen to me on that sideline and you should be able to coach yourself. I have no doubt they will do a great job.

Baylor guard Odyssey Sims on Mulkey being suspended for first game of the tournament
As far as right now, we haven’t talked about her not coaching. I think [Coach Mulkey] will handle it well; I think our coaching staff will handle it well. We will do just fine. Still practice hard all week and come Saturday, we will be ready to play.

Sims on if last year’s tournament loss to Louisville motivated her this season
It motivated me a lot. Just thinking about the game still makes me mad. We were right there, lost by one. But going into this season, I used that to motivate me, to play hard every possession, get my team fired up and try to lead this team as far as I can.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley on getting No. 1 seed
We saw our name flash across the screen but we didn’t know number was next to it… I was floored. I didn’t think we ended the season on a high note, but certainly the committee thought otherwise. They looked at our body of work and saw what we were able to do in our tough league [SEC] and rewarded us with a No. 1 seed.

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick on the Tennessee basketball team
I think we distribute the basketball. I think we play really well together, a strong team with a strong bond and they don’t care who gets the result, who gets the points. They want the end result and that is winning the basketball game.

Warlick on pressure to get back to Final Four based on Tennessee’s tradition
We talk about it a lot. We build on our tradition; we love our tradition. We love where we have been and we know we can get there. We focus on what they have done in the past and we can get there.  This is a really hard practicing team. We have talked about the Final Four from day one, we haven’t avoided it. We talk about being in Nashville and that is our goal to get there. We say we are going to ‘Grind for Nine’ and that has been our goal. Regardless of the past couple of years… We know this team, when we are on, when we are clicking on all cylinders, we have the great ability to get to Nashville.

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