What is March Madness?
The NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States, currently featuring 68 women’s college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to determine the national championship.
As of 2022, the tournament follows the same format and selection process as its men’s counterpart, with 32 automatic bids awarded to the champions of the Division I conferences, and 36 “at-large bids” extended by the NCAA Selection Committee, which are placed into four regional divisions and seeded from 1 to 16. The four lowest-seeded automatic bids, and the four lowest-seeded at-large bids, compete in the First Four games to advance to the 64-team bracket in the first round. The national semi-finals, branded as the Women’s Final Four, are traditionally scheduled on the same weekend as the men’s Final Four, but in a different host city. Presently, the Women’s Final Four uses a Friday/Sunday scheduling, with its games occurring one day prior to the men’s Final Four and championship respectively.
With 11 national titles, the UConn Huskies hold the record for the most NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championships, which included four straight championships from 2013 through 2016. The 2021–22 South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team represented the University of South Carolina during the 2021–22 NCAA Division I women’s basketball season. The Gamecocks were led by 14th-year head coach Dawn Staley and played their home games at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. They competed as members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They finished the season 35–2, 15–1 in SEC play to win the regular season championship. They defeated Arkansas and Ole Miss to advance to the championship of the SEC Tournament where they lost to Kentucky. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Greensboro region. They defeated Howard, Miami, North Carolina, Creighton and Louisville to advance to the championship game. There they defeated UConn for the team’s second-ever national title.