(This story was originally published at UtahUtes.com.)
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Women’s Basketball program is set to host the first and second rounds of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Utes have been selected as a No. 2 seed and will take on the No. 15-seed Gardner-Webb in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Friday, March 17.
Utah’s No. 2 seed is the highest seed Utah has earned in the NCAA Tournament in program history. This is also the first time the Utes have received back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths since 2008 and 2009.
The Utes will also host No. 7-seed North Carolina State against the No. 10-seeded Princeton Tigers on Friday, with the two winners meeting in the second round on Sunday, March 19. Game times for all first round games will be announced at a later time.
Public ticket sales for the first and second rounds, including all-session tickets and single-game tickets, are on sale now and may be purchased here.
“I’m pleased that we got a two-seed,” remarked head coach Lynne Roberts. “I think we earned that over the course of the season. I know that Gardner-Webb always has a good team. We’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s always fun to play new teams that you don’t know much about and they don’t know much about you. We’re excited we get to host that’s been one of our goals the entire season.”
This will be the Utes’ 19th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second under Roberts. The highest the Utes have been seeded is the fifth seed, four different times, most recently in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
The Utes earned a bid after collecting their 30th 20-win season in program history after finishing the season 25-4. Utah closed out the regular season on a strong note, defeating then No. 3 Stanford 84-78 to claim a share of the Pac-12 regular season title.
Utah is the fourth highest-scoring team in the NCAA and led the Pac-12, averaging 83.5 points per game. Utah also led the Pac-12 in three-pointers per game (16th NCAA; 8.6), assists per game (6th NCAA; 532), free throws made per game (9th NCAA; 15.93) and field goal percentage (4th NCAA; 48.5)
This season, the Utes finished first in the Pac-12, which is the highest finish in school history. Utah’s Alissa Pili was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and an All-Pac 12 selection. Roberts was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Gianna Kneepkens earned All-Pac 12 honors while Kennady McQueen and Jenna Johnson earned Pac-12 Honorable Mention.
Gardner-Webb finished first in the Big South Conference this season with an undefeated 18-0 conference record and won the Big South Tournament. The Bulldogs finished the year with a record of 29-4. This is Gardner-Webb’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and third overall appearance.
This will be the first meeting between these two schools in program history.
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