the ncaa di women’s basketball tournament has seen some cinderellas, like when not. 16 harvard shocked no. 1 stanford in 1998 and no. 11 gonzaga reached elite eight in 2011.
but which low seeds have had the most notable wins in each round? Here’s a quick rundown of the table before we delve into the lowest seedings to advance to each round in NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament history.
here are the best tournament races by seed:
lowest seed to reach the second round: no. 16 harvard in 1998
Twenty years before UMBC made men’s history by defeating Virginia in the first upset 16-on-1, the Harvard women upset Stanford.
The Crimsons remain the only 16 seeds to win a first round match in the women’s tournament. On March 14, 1998, and playing on the floor of the Cardinal’s house, Harvard faced 21-5 Stanford 22-4.
but harvard had allison fester. She averaged a program-high 28.5 points per game and earned All-American honors, while Stanford lost two players (Vanessa Nygaard and Kristin Folkl) to injuries before the game. Banqueter finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds to lead the upset 71-67.
Win It All: The Complete List of Women’s Basketball Champions
lowest seed to reach sweet 16: three no. 13 seeds (texas a&m in 1994, freedom in 2005 and marist in 2007)
here’s how these three made it to sweet 16:
marist’s streak ended with maac’s winless start in the ncaa tournament at 0-21.
texas a&m’s streak came at home. although florida was a no. 4, the Caymans were unable to host due to a Rod Stewart concert, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
lowest seed to get to elite eight: no. 11 gonzagas in 2011
no team seeded worse than 11 has gone as far as the 2011 bulldogs.
gonzaga went 28-4 and had American courtney vandersloot, the first player in history to surpass 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career. the bulldogs also played at home. he does not. 11 bulldogs beat no. 6 iowa (92-86) then no. 3 UCLA (89-75) at their home court to advance to the Sweet 16, played at a different arena in Spokane, just a few miles away. the streak continued there with a 76-69 win against world no. 7 louisville, but finished in the elite eight at no. 1 stanford, 83-60.
bragging rights: teams with the most national championships
lowest seed to make it to the final four: no. 9 Arkansas in 1998
The Razorbacks were only 18-10 with a 7-7 second record, but a little help from Harvard helped Arkansas make history of their own. No. 16 harvard’s stunner on no. 1 stanford brought chaos to the west, and arkansas took advantage.
lowest seed to reach the national championship: no. 5 louisville in 2013
Only a fellow team from the Big East stood in the way of the Cardinals winning their first national championship. Louisville went 24-8 on draft day and memorably defeated defending national champion Baylor and stars Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims 82-81 in the Sweet 16. Louisville made 16 of 25 3-point attempts.
Looking back: Remembering the dramatic end to uconn’s 111-game winning streak
lowest seed to win the national championship: two no. 3 seeds (1994 North Carolina, 1997 Tennessee)
tennessee and north carolina have a rich history in women’s basketball. They have won national crowns and earned top seeds in the NCAA tournament. they also win the accolade as the lowest seeded team to win it all.
This is how it happened: