- Charlie Creme projects the women’s NCAA tournament bracket for ESPN.com.
No lead is safe in the 2023 women’s NCAA tournament.
On Friday, Georgia, Princeton and South Florida erased deficits to advance to the second round. That was just an appetizer.
Saturday’s comebacks were historic. For the first time, three teams rallied from at least 16 points down to win on the same day, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It’s just the second time it has happened in a single tournament, but Baylor, Miami and Ohio State all did it within four hours. The Bears won the big prize, coming back from an 18-point first-quarter deficit against Alabama. The Hurricanes were down 17 to Oklahoma State at halftime. The Buckeyes trailed upset-minded James Madison by 14 midway through the second quarter before their press and the Columbus crowd got them going.
Two No. 12 seeds also won Saturday after a No. 11 and No. 10 advanced on Friday. The biggest stunner: Toledo taking down Big 12 champion Iowa State. Florida Gulf Coast made its way to the second round for the second straight year, knocking out another conference champion, the Pac-12’s Washington State.
And as the upsets and dominant performances give the field a new look, we’re reshaping the landscape, too.
Reseeding the 32 teams remaining means some movement even among the best teams. Did the No. 1 seeds do enough to stay at the top? Where do the double-digit seeds fit in now?
Based on the performances of the past two days, and considering some injuries and player availability, here is our reseeded field of 32.
Follow these links for a complete look at Sunday’s schedule and Monday’s games, which are all on the ESPN family of networks and the ESPN App. Visit this link to check your Women’s Tournament Challenge bracket. Through the first 32 games, six brackets remain perfect.
No. 1 seeds
South Carolina Gamecocks
NCAA seed: No. 1 overall (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Norfolk State 72-40
Anyone who hadn’t watched South Carolina before Friday probably wasn’t as impressed as the rest of us have been all season. The always-focused Gamecocks weren’t always in sync and didn’t shoot the ball well (38.9%). Yet, as expected, the Spartans never had a chance. South Carolina won in all the most South Carolina ways possible: suffocating defense, dominant rebounding and great bench production. Only two Gamecocks reached double figures, but 12 scored as coach Dawn Staley got the entire roster some potentially valuable NCAA tournament minutes. It was merely taking care of business in Columbia.
Up next: vs. South Florida on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC)
NCAA seed: No. 1 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Sacred Heart 92-49
This NCAA tournament marks the 25th anniversary of Stanford losing as a No. 1 seed to 16-seed Harvard. This version of the Cardinal made sure there was no link. After trailing early to the Pioneers, Stanford asserted control and was up by 19 points at halftime. Playing without 6-foot-4 second-team All-American Cameron Brink, out with a stomach bug, the Cardinal still dominated inside with 56 points in the paint and a plus-29 rebounding margin. The win was Stanford’s 100th in NCAA tournament play, which ranks third all-time behind Tennessee and UConn. The Cardinal are also one game away from their 15th consecutive Sweet 16.
Up next: vs. Ole Miss on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAA seed: No. 2 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated Vermont 95-52
The Huskies can win a few different ways now that they’re as healthy as they’ve been all season. Saturday against Vermont, it was about using their physical superiority to dominate inside. Aaliyah Edwards and Dorka Juhasz were the two best players on the court and combined to go 20-for-25 from the field. Edwards established a career high with 28 points and was nearly flawless as the Catamounts offered little resistance against the Huskies, who scored their most points in a game since mid-January. Many thought these Huskies were worthy of a No. 1 seed. Now they are. UConn now has won 49 straight NCAA tournament games in the Northeast, but the second-round game against Baylor will be the last one this year. A win and the Huskies head to Seattle. The last time they didn’t make a Final Four was in 2007, which was also the last time they played in a regional on the West Coast. That year, UConn lost to LSU in the Elite Eight in Fresno.
Up next: vs. Baylor on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 1
First round: Defeated Tennessee Tech 77-47
After some early anxious moments, the Hoosiers looked just fine without Mackenzie Holmes against Tennessee Tech and pulled away in typical fashion: good shooting (58.0%), lots of contributors (nine Hoosiers scored) and solid defense (the Eagles shot 22.0% in the second half). However, Indiana can’t be considered the second overall team anymore if Holmes’ knee soreness continues to limit her going forward in the NCAA tournament. She is far too important to Indiana’s success to pretend it is the same team without her or even if she has diminished capabilities. The Hoosiers would still be good enough to reach the Sweet 16, but as the competition gets more difficult, Holmes’ health becomes one of the tournament’s major storylines.
Up next: vs. Miami on Monday
No. 2 seeds
NCAA seed: No. 2 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated SE Louisiana 95-43
A lesson might have been learned in Iowa City on Friday: Don’t verbally challenge the Hawkeyes. Southeastern Louisiana coach Ayala Guzzardo was critical of Iowa’s defense prior to their matchup. The Hawkeyes proceeded to completely put the clamps on the Lions in the second half, holding them to 11 points and just three field goals in the final 20 minutes. The 52-point margin was the largest in an NCAA tournament game in Iowa program history. Caitlin Clark needed only 29 minutes to put up 26 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Hawkeyes had a similar result in the opening round last March, scoring 98 against Illinois State before being held to 62 by Creighton in a second-round upset loss. Georgia could present an even greater defensive challenge than the Bluejays, making Sunday’s matchup one of the most intriguing of the second round.
Up next: vs. Georgia on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ABC)
Virginia Tech Hokies
NCAA seed: No. 1 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated Chattanooga 58-33
Like South Carolina, the Hokies eased into this year’s NCAA tournament without playing their A-game. When that happened a year ago, Virginia Tech got eliminated in the opening round. This Hokies team is much better, and Virginia Tech had little trouble beating the Mocs despite its second-lowest scoring output of the season. Not surprisingly, the Hokies leaned on Elizabeth Kitley (12 points, 14 rebounds) and Georgia Amoore (22 points, 5-for-8 on 3-pointers) as they have during their now 12-game winning streak. Chattanooga was a low-scoring offense all season and was one of the worst rebounding teams in the country. The Hokies exploited both areas, holding the Mocs to 28.6% shooting and outrebounding them 38-22. Neither of those things will be as easy against South Dakota State, which could pose a problem for Virginia Tech if it doesn’t play with a little more punch in the attack.
Up next: vs. South Dakota State on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
NCAA seed: No. 2
First round: Defeated Holy Cross 93-61
The Terrapins weren’t taking any chances. They didn’t let Holy Cross breathe in the opening minutes, scoring the game’s first 14 points. And then less than seven minutes into the game, the Crusaders were in a hole too deep. It was businesslike after that for Maryland, which forced 24 turnovers and had 13 steals. The Terps didn’t need much out of leading scorer and second-team All-American Diamond Miller. Her 13 points marked Miller’s lowest output since Thanksgiving weekend. Getting four 3-pointers from Brinae Alexander is a good sign for the Terps as the competition gets better, starting with Arizona.
Up next: vs. Arizona on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAA seed: No. 2 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated Gardner-Webb 103-77
Alissa Pili was one of the most efficient and productive players in the country all season. She took it to another level against Gardner-Webb. The Pac-12 Player of the Year scored a career-high 33 points on just 17 shots. Pili added eight rebounds and eight assists, leading the Utes, who had 32 assists on 37 made field goals. The Runnin’ Bulldogs came into the game on a 21-game winning streak, but their strategy of playing Pili one-on-one in the post was unsuccessful from the start. Pili either scored or assisted on Utah’s first five baskets. Princeton will pose more of a defensive challenge, but the Utes will be playing another double-digit seed as they try to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2006.
Up next: Princeton on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 3 seeds
NCAA seed: No. 3 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated Hawai’i 73-50
Despite a comfortable win and second consecutive trip to the second round since Kim Mulkey’s arrival, the Tigers’ biggest takeaway Friday might be that Angel Reese needs more help. The sophomore’s 34-point, 15-rebound performance was the best by an SEC player in the NCAA tournament this century, but freshman Flau’jae Johnson (10 points) was the only other LSU player in double figures. The rest of the team combined to shoot just 33.3% from the field. Against a veteran Michigan team, the Tigers will likely need more contributions to advance.
Up next: vs. Michigan on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Ohio State Buckeyes
NCAA seed: No. 3 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated James Madison 80-66
Falling behind early has become a curious hallmark of these Buckeyes. They came from 24 down to beat Indiana in the Big Ten tournament, and they did it again Saturday against the Dukes. After falling behind by 16 midway through the second quarter, Ohio State used its vaunted full-court press to completely turn around the game. The Buckeyes forced 20 turnovers and eventually flipped the score to a 16-point lead before winning by 14. The 32-point turnaround and the program’s sixth straight NCAA tournament with at least one win is the good news. The bad news is Ohio State made only two 3-pointers and committed 27 fouls.
Up next: vs. North Carolina on Monday
Tennessee Lady Vols
NCAA seed: No. 4 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated Saint Louis 95-50
All the characteristics that enticed so many experts to put Tennessee in the top five in the preseason were on display against Saint Louis. The Lady Vols dominated with their length defensively, controlled the boards and got efficient scoring from stars Jordan Horston (21 points, 9-of-11 from the field) and Rickea Jackson (18 points, 8-of-13 from the field). Any thoughts of an upset disappeared quickly and the crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena had a relatively stress-free afternoon. That kind of dominance is enough to move the Lady Vols up a seed line. A year ago, the Lady Vols also drew a No. 12 seed coming off an upset in the second round, and just survived Belmont to get to the Sweet 16. Toledo brings a similar challenge.
Up next: vs. Toledo on Monday
Duke Blue Devils
NCAA seed: No. 3 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Iona 89-49
The Blue Devils combined to score 81 points in the last two games in the ACC tournament. So consider Saturday’s 89-point output against the Gaels an offensive renaissance. As is always the case with this Duke team, the attack starts with defense, which registered 11 steals, but four players in double figures and 58.5% shooting is a good sign regardless of the opponent. That’s why the Blue Devils got the nod over Notre Dame, Villanova and Texas — all of which also registered blowout wins — for the final No. 3 seed.
Up next: vs. Colorado on Monday
No. 4 seeds
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
NCAA seed: No. 3 (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Southern Utah 82-56
Perhaps it was a St. Patrick’s Day spark, or the matchup with the Thunderbirds was just right, but the Irish’s offense looked just fine without Olivia Miles. The 27 first-quarter points no doubt provided some confidence to a team that totaled just 38 in the ACC tournament semifinals against Louisville without Miles. With the news that Miles won’t play in the NCAA tournament because of a knee injury she suffered in the regular-season finale, Niele Ivey has turned more of the ballhandling duties to Sonia Citron, and the sophomore responded with 14 points, six assists and, most importantly, zero turnovers. Notre Dame’s NCAA tournament ceiling is lower without Miles, but for one day at least the Irish did more than just survive.
Up next: vs. Mississippi State on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAA seed: No. 4 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated Cleveland State 76-59
Only four players in Division I history had scored 1,000 points in a single season. After Villanova’s easy win over Cleveland State on Saturday, that number is five. Maddy Siegrist led the way, as she almost always does for the Wildcats, with 35 points, and in the process she joined Jackie Stiles, Odyssey Sims, Kelsey Plum and Megan Gustafson on that exclusive list. Siegrist, who entered the tournament averaging a nation-best 28.9 points per game, scored 22 of her 35 points in the first half as Villanova built a 21-point lead in a game that was never in doubt.
Up next: vs. Florida Gulf Coast on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 4 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated East Carolina 79-40
Overwhelmed is probably the best way to describe what East Carolina was feeling against the Longhorns on Saturday. Texas put the clamps on the Pirates, allowing just 10 field goals the entire game. The other piece of good news for Texas was the return of Sonya Morris. The senior guard played 13 minutes and scored four points in her first game since Feb. 4. Morris missed 10 games with a quadriceps injury, but her outside shooting is a key to a deep Longhorns run. The Texas win also put three Big 12 teams into the second round after the league began the tournament 0-3.
Up next: vs. Louisville on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 4 (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Sacramento State 67-45
The Bruins’ comfortable win over Big Sky champ Sacramento State gave the Pac-12 a 5-2 record in the first round. That matched the Big Ten for the second-best record among multiple-bid leagues. (The SEC finished 7-1.) Five different Bruins scored in the first four minutes as UCLA raced to a 16-2 lead in the first round’s final game. That kind of balance continued, and the Bruins easily avoided being a victim of another big comeback. The win sets up a game with Oklahoma in what could be the best matchup of the second round.
Up next: vs. Oklahoma on Monday
No. 5 seeds
NCAA seed: No. 6 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Middle Tennessee 82-60
Colorado was supposed to have a size and rebounding advantage over Middle Tennessee. The Buffs weren’t supposed to be able to outshoot one of the most effective offensive teams in the country. But they did just that, making a season-best 13 3-pointers in the most dominant first-round performance by a team outside the top-four seeds. And when they did miss, that size advantage delivered, too. At one point in the second half, Colorado had as many offensive rebounds as the Blue Raiders had total boards. After being an upset victim to Creighton in the first round a year ago, the Buffs won their first NCAA tournament game in 22 years.
Up next: vs. Duke on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 5 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Drake 83-81
The No. 5 seed was looking like an endangered species. The first two that played Saturday were bounced, and Louisville was in a battle with Drake. Some key defensive plays and five points in the final 16 seconds from Hailey Van Lith helped the Cardinals avoid the same fate as Iowa State and Washington State. Louisville has won at least one game in the NCAA tournament every year since 2011. Van Lith carried the load with 26 points, but Olivia Cochran and Liz Dixon combined for just 13 points against a small Bulldogs team. If the Cardinals are going to get to a sixth consecutive Sweet 16, that pair of posts will have to play much bigger against the physical Longhorns.
Up next: vs. Texas on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 6
First round: Defeated UNLV 71-59
The Wolverines lost in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, and they looked like they benefited from the layoff. Michigan appeared sharper against UNLV than it had at any time in the regular season’s final three weeks. It’s a formula that breeds Michigan success: Emily Kiser got on the boards (10 rebounds, 18 points), Maddie Nolan made perimeter shots (4 of 6 3-pointers, 18 points) and Leigha Brown ran the offense (17 points, seven assists). If the veterans produce like that again, a third straight trip to the Sweet 16 is a possibility.
Up next: vs. LSU on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAA seed: No. 5 (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Portland 85-63
When Aubrey Joens left Iowa State for Oklahoma, she probably didn’t think she would be playing deeper into the NCAA tournament than her sister, Ashley. But with the Cyclones eliminated in one of Saturday’s biggest upsets, and Aubrey scoring eight of her 14 points in a key third quarter rally, it’s the Sooners, not Iowa State, that plays on. It took Oklahoma a little time to shake the WCC tournament champion Pilots, but a big second half got the nation’s second-highest scoring team right to its average, and the Sooners their second NCAA tournament win in as many years under Jennie Baranczyk.
Up next: vs. UCLA on Monday
No. 6 seeds
North Carolina Tar Heels
NCAA seed: No. 6 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated St. John’s 61-59
Nothing has been easy for North Carolina this season, so why should its first NCAA tournament game be any different? After leading from the opening jump, the Tar Heels suddenly found themselves trailing midway through the fourth quarter. After battling back, North Carolina got a three-point play from Deja Kelly and then had to survive missed free throws by the Red Storm to advance. An 0-3 ACC start, early February injuries to two starters and a disappointing performance in the ACC tournament are now behind the Tar Heels, who improved to 3-2 in the NCAA tournament under Courtney Banghart.
Up next: vs. Ohio State on Monday
Ole Miss Rebels
NCAA seed: No. 8 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Gonzaga 71-48
After the first round, Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin wrote on Twitter, “We defend.” Her team certainly did. The Rebels were physical with Gonzaga from the start and held the most accurate 3-point shooting team in the country to 1-for-17 from deep. Ole Miss quickly turned an 8-9 game into a mismatch in one of the first round’s most impressive performances. A 15-2 run midway through the second quarter, highlighted by three Snudda Collins 3-pointers, seemed to crush Gonzaga’s spirit. Ole Miss never let the Zags back into the game and got the program’s first NCAA tournament win since 2007.
Up next: vs. Stanford on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAA seed: No. 7
First round: Defeated West Virginia 75-62
The Wildcats have now won at least one game in the past three NCAA tournaments, and they did it relying on the veterans who have been there for all of them. Cate Reese and Shaina Pellington combined for 43 points and helped Arizona control the game throughout. Getting to the Sweet 16 might depend on some improvement from the 3-point line, where Arizona made 2-of-12 against the Mountaineers, and playing better on the road. Facing Maryland in College Park is a much bigger challenge, and the Wildcats are just 7-5 on the road this season.
Up next: vs. Maryland on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
NCAA seed: No. 9
First round: Defeated USC 62-57 OT
Now in her sixth year at South Dakota State, Myah Selland has been the program’s best player since her sophomore season. And it was only fitting that Selland led the way in the Jackrabbits’ first NCAA tournament win since 2019. At times, USC couldn’t stop her, even though it was obvious who was getting the ball. Selland finished with 29 points and scored South Dakota State’s first nine points in the extra period. She was simply too much for the Trojans to overcome. The last time they were here, the Jackrabbits advanced to the Sweet 16.
Up next: vs. Virginia Tech (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 7 seeds
Mississippi State Bulldogs
NCAA seed: No. 11 (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Creighton 81-66
“Talk to me nice” has been coach Sam Purcell’s mantra throughout his first season in Starkville, but his team has been anything but nice to its opponents in the NCAA tournament. After disposing of Illinois in the First Four, the Bulldogs were even more impressive in taking out Creighton, last year’s Cinderella. Mississippi State imposed its size, athleticism and depth on the Bluejays from the opening minutes and never relented. The Bulldogs never trailed and are the first 2-0 team in this year’s tournament.
Up next: vs. Notre Dame on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
NCAA seed: No. 12 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated Washington State 74-63
For a second straight year, the Eagles are into the second round as a No. 12 seed after beating the Cougars. FGCU does two things on offense: shoot 3-pointers and take layups. On Saturday, coach Karl Smesko leaned into getting to the rim. The country’s most prolific 3-point-shooting team made only five treys Saturday but scored 50 points in the paint. FGCU routinely took the ball right at the Cougars, who never found an answer. The analytics approach won again. The Eagles took only two shots outside of the lane that weren’t 3-pointers. Maryland was too much physically for FGCU in last year’s second round, but that shouldn’t be the case against Villanova in what could be a high-scoring second-round game.
Up next: vs. Villanova on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 7 (Seattle 3)
First round: Defeated Alabama 78-74
Heading into the tournament, Baylor was shooting 31.4% on 3-pointers — which ranks 160th in the country. Against Alabama, the Bears were 14-for-28 from 3-point range to become the third team Saturday to erase a double-digit deficit. Of the three comebacks, Baylor’s was the biggest and the most improbable. Baylor lost six of its final nine games heading into the Big Dance, and when Baylor got down 22-4 after the first quarter, it looked like those troubles were continuing. Then the 3-pointers began to fall. Ja’Mee Asberry, a 31% 3-point shooter on the season, made seven of the long-range shots Saturday to lead the Bears with 26 points.
Up next: vs. UConn on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 10 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated NC State 64-63
After fighting their way back into the game late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers still looked like they might come up short. Then came an untimely turnover for NC State and a perfectly executed play for a Grace Stone 3-pointer, and Princeton had the upset and another first-round victory. Not as offensively proficient as they have been in recent years, defense was the Tigers’ calling card all season, and they held the Wolfpack scoreless for the final 5:43 to give themselves a chance. It paid off in Stone’s third game-winning shot this season. Utah’s offense will be a tall task, but Villanova and UConn each only scored 69 against Princeton, two games the Tigers were in until the end.
Up next: vs. Utah on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 8 seeds
Georgia Lady Bulldogs
NCAA seed: No. 10 (Seattle 4)
First round: Defeated Florida State 66-54
The Lady Bulldogs might have let injury-depleted FSU hang around a little longer than they would have liked, but a big late-third-quarter/early-fourth-quarter run put the game away. Georgia used the physical zone defense coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson brought with her from UCF to stifle Florida State, which didn’t have leading scorer Ta’Niya Latson and was without second-leading scorer Makayla Timpson for much of the first half after she suffered a cut near her eye. Diamond Battles, who came with Abrahamson-Henderson from UCF, scored 21 points and is one of the SEC’s best backcourt defenders. Battles and Georgia’s zone get the ultimate test in Round 2 with Caitlin Clark and Iowa awaiting.
Up next: vs. Iowa on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ABC)
South Florida Bulls
NCAA seed: No. 8 (Greenville 1)
First round: Defeated Marquette 67-65 OT
The Bulls might have been the better team against Marquette for only about 10 minutes, but they picked the right 10 minutes. South Florida trailed by 11 late in the third quarter and didn’t have its first lead until 1:21 remained in regulation. Leading scorer Elena Tsineke missed eight of her first nine shots but scored 11 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including the field goal that ultimately decided the game. Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu was her usual dominant self on the boards and finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds, her 24th double-double of the season, but her task gets much more difficult with Aliyah Boston and Kamilla Cardoso awaiting in Round 2.
Up next: vs. South Carolina on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC)
NCAA seed: No. 9 (Greenville 2)
First round: Defeated Oklahoma State 62-61
The Hurricanes were another one of those teams that erased a big deficit. They were down 17 before a second-half rally put them in the second round for the second consecutive year. Asked about what adjustments she made to turn around the game, coach Katie Meier was her typical honest self: She said there were none. The first half was just a series of bad breaks. If her team just stayed the course and followed the original game plan, Miami would find its way back. She was right. From halftime until there was 5:37 left in the final quarter, the Hurricanes outscored the Cowgirls 33-9. Haley Cavinder fueled the fifth-largest comeback in NCAA tournament history with 12 of her 16 points after halftime, and she made the deciding free throw with 8.9 seconds left.
Up next: vs. Indiana on Monday
NCAA seed: No. 12 (Seattle)
First round: Defeated Iowa State 80-73
The Rockets played like a team still angry about not making the NCAA tournament a year ago. This season, they left nothing to chance with their bid by winning the MAC tournament and then took no chances against the Cyclones, taking the lead midway through the second quarter and never giving it up. The upset marked Toledo’s first NCAA tournament win since 1996. The Cyclones, who were just 9-9 in road/neutral court games this season, never found an answer for Toledo guard and MAC Player of the Year Quinesha Lockett, who led everyone with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Iowa State great Ashley Joens scored 23 points in the final game of her college career.
Up next: vs. Tennessee on Monday
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