The fifth-seeded Duke Blue Devils and 13th-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels respectively sat on their campuses in Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C., viewing their big screens as their tickets were punched for the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday night.
It wasn’t a matter of if or when they would play, but rather where and against whom both teams would tipoff with in this year’s tournament that had everyone’s attention.
As the pairings were announced, the Blue Devils (30-2) were once again selected as a No. 2 seed, the fourth consecutive year that they have started in that position, while earning their 19th straight NCAA Tournament selection.
In that spot, the Blue Devils will play host and opponent to the 15th-seeded Hampton Lady Pirates (28-5) in first round of play in the Norfolk Regional on Sunday in confines of familiar Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“It is awesome,” Duke guard Tricia Liston said of opening tournament play at home.
“We love Cameron and we love our fans. It is our home court and we are excited to play there.”
“We just want to play,” head coach Joanne P. McCallie said
“Of course it is a great privilege and honor to host because we’ve done that before and we hope to do it again. The reality of this time of year is the urgency. We just can’t wait to play."
The Tar Heels (28-6), who had missed making the NCAA tournament last year for the first time since 2001, were awarded the No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Regional and will face the 14th-seeded America East champion Albany Great Danes at the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware on Sunday as well.
"First, it's just great seeing our name up there because last year we watched it and our name didn't show up, so it's important that we got into the tournament," Tar Heels guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt said.
"Having a three seed is a great set-up for us to have a great NCAA tournament.”
Impressive NCAA resumes
Both Triangle-area teams are experienced in NCAA postseason play as the Blue Devils have earned one of the top eight seeds in 12 out of the last 13 years in the NCAA Tournament and are coming off three straight Elite Eight appearances, while the Tar Heels own the only NCAA Championship trophy amongst the two schools, which they won back in 1994.
"Our kids are excited, they're playing well and they are excited to be in the tournament and have the chance to compete again," Tar Heels head coach Sylvia Hatchell said.
"I was excited, I really wanted a three seed because that's the seed we had when we won the national championship. My staff has already started preparing, we'll break film down and practice and prepare for our first game Sunday afternoon against Albany."
Duke and UNC are two of five Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams that will compete in this year’s tournament as the Maryland Terrapins (No. 4 – Bridgeport), Florida State Seminoles (No. 8 – Oklahoma City), and Miami Hurricanes (No. 8 – Norfolk) all earned spots in the tournament which begins play on Saturday.