Janita Badon and Ciera Dunbar await Utah's selection.
March 14, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - The No. 15 seed Utah women's basketball team will open the 2011 NCAA Tournament against No. 2 seed Notre Dame, it was announced today on ESPN's Women's Basketball Selection Monday Special.
Also coming to Salt Lake City is No. 7 seed Arizona State, who will face No. 10 seed Temple, in the first round.
First round games will be played Saturday, with Arizona State and Temple squaring off at 2 p.m. MT. Utah will then face Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m. MT. Both first round games will be televised on ESPN2. Monday's second round matchup between the winners of Saturday's games will be played at 7:30 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.
Utah (18-16) is making its 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its first since 2009. The Utes are 9-16 overall in the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame, who are ranked seventh this week in the coaches poll and ninth by the Associated Press, fell to No. 1 Connecticut in the BIG EAST championship game, 73-64. The Fighting Irish are 26-7 overall and went 13-3 in conference play.
Utah and Notre Dame have played twice, with the Fighting Irish winning both meetings. The two teams met in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 in the Sweet Sixteen, with Notre Dame coming away with a 69-54 victory. The teams also played in the regular season in 2006.
The Utes last hosted the first and second rounds in 2001, defeating Fairfield (79-57) and Iowa (78-69) as a No. 5 seed, to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
All-session tickets are $25 (adult) and $10 (under 18) and are good for one session on Saturday and one session on Monday, a total of three games. Utah students can purchase an all-session ticket for $20 with valid student ID. Single-game tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for youth (no Utah student discounts on single game tickets). Tickets are available at 801-581-UTIX (8849).
Quotes from Interim Head Coach Anthony Levrets
On Drawing Notre Dame
"All I know about Notre Dame is that they are a good team. It doesn't matter who you play at this point, it is going to be a good team. Either you are good all year long, like Notre Dame has been, or you get hot at the end of the season, as we have done. We have been close in almost every game. We are comfortable in close games, so hopefully that will be the case (against Notre Dame)."
On Playing in Salt Lake City
"It's fun to have a chance to play at home in front of our fans, but the best part of it is that our kids can go to classes this week. We were gone for an entire week with (our final regular season game) and the Mountain West Tournament, so we missed a lot of school. I'm just glad we don't have to turn right around and leave again without getting back to class."
About Making the NCAA Tournament as a First-Year Interim Head Coach
"I'm just excited for our team. The players believed in each other and believed in the coaches. This is a reward for a good season."
The Team's Mentality About Making the NCAA Tournament
"These kids think they can win--they're not just happy to be here. They are playing with a lot of confidence. Our goal was to be the hardest playing team in the country and to be the best defensive team in the conference. We felt that if we played hard the whole game, and played great defense the whole game, that the offense would come. Defense is very important to our success and we will continue to focus on that."