Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida, FSU in women's NCAAs; USF left out

USF women’s coach Jose Fernandez had hoped that the Bulls’ strong finish to the season after a rough, injury-plagued December would have won points with the NCAA selection committee.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

USF women’s coach Jose Fernandez had hoped that the Bulls’ strong finish to the season after a rough, injury-plagued December would have won points with the NCAA selection committee.

TAMPA — Incisors from Tallahassee to Tampa were clenched in anxiety when Monday night's selection show for the NCAA Women's Tournament began.

When it ended, Florida and FSU had snuck into the 64-team field with barely any enamel to spare. While they grinned, USF gritted.

Such was the fallout on one of the most precarious, skin-of-the-teeth nights in state women's college basketball lore.

Scrunched atop the NCAA bubble alongside USF, the Gators (19-12) and Seminoles (20-11) — with RPIs of 64 and 38, respectively — were among the last four teams picked for the field. Both are bound for the Stanford Region, as the 10th (FSU) and 11th seeds.

Meantime, USF (19-12) is bound for the Women's NIT.

"There was a lot of relief and excitement when we saw our name in the field of 64," said veteran 'Noles coach Sue Semrau, whose team was 5-8 against squads picked for the field. "I think looking at our whole body of work, it was certainly warranted for us to be making another NCAA appearance."

Fidgeting even more intensely were the Gators, who finished 8-8 in the SEC and 3-5 against ranked teams. A win against Kentucky in the SEC tournament quarterfinals likely would have removed all uncertainty about their fate.

But a 75-70 defeat left them squirming on the floor, sofa and loveseats of coach Amanda Butler's living room. ESPN selection show host Kevin Negandhi actually blurted out the Gators' name before their bracket appeared, setting off a chorus of screams.

"It's an accomplishment up to this point, but I think the thing that's so special about this team is they are really, really hungry and know they're not done," Butler said. "But this was a day to celebrate, and that's what we did.

USF, by contrast, couldn't quite atone for an abysmal December.

Despite finishing third in the American Athletic Conference and being undefeated since Jan. 1 against teams not named UConn or Louisville, the Bulls were denied a second straight NCAA berth.

Selection committee chairperson Carolayne Henry said they were among the first four out, hampered primarily by an 0-8 record against top-50 RPI teams. The Bulls, 58th in the realtimerpi.com standings, will host North Carolina A&T on Friday night to open the WNIT; game time will be announced today.

"We did everything we could in January, February and March, and I guess it wasn't enough," said coach Jose Fernandez, whose injury-besieged team finished 2-5 in December before returning to nearly full strength.

"We'll have to move on. Like I told my team, these are the kinds of things life is going to throw at you. It's going to happen once they leave USF, and how they handle it is what is going to matter."

Undefeated UConn and Notre Dame, the tournament's No. 1 and 2 overall seeds, respectively, remain heavy favorites to clash in the title game April 8 in Nashville.

Resurgent Tennessee (27-5), winner of seven in a row, earned the top seed in the Louisville Region, though it conceivably could play the No. 3 Cardinals on their home floor in the Elite Eight.

SEC regular-season champ South Carolina (27-4), which began the season unranked, earned the fourth top seed — in the Stanford Region — despite a 10-point loss to Kentucky in the SEC tourney semifinals.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Florida, FSU in women's NCAAs; USF left out 03/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  2. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now

    Blogs

    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.

  3. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say the Rays are out of it, but scoring a half-dozen runs in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays was another promising sign.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off right knee surgery, often takes it easy on the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single, finishing with three more hits.

  5. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.