NEWARK, Del. – The seventh-ranked University of Delaware women's basketball team has earned the No. 3 seed in the Des Moines Region and will face 14th-seeded Arkansas Little Rock in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday at 5 p.m. in Little Rock, Ark.
The game will take place at the Jack Stephens Center on the UALR campus, and will be a part of ESPN2’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The winner of the Delaware-UALR matchup will take on the winner of the No. 6 seed Nebraska vs. No. 11 seed Kansas game in the second round on Tuesday in Little Rock at a time to be announced.
The winner of Tuesday’s game heads to Des Moines, Iowa for the regional semifinals and finals on March 25 and 27. No. 1 overall seed Baylor is the top seed in the region, while Tennessee is the second seed.
"I really feel our team has stepped up and played really well,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, the 2012 CAA Coach of the Year who will be making her third NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach. “We're a very confident bunch and very excited to be in the NCAA Tournament. At this point, we're just thankful and anxious. We'll have to watch some tape and see what Arkansas Little Rock has to offer. It's one game at a time for us, but we do need to see the tape and see what they have to offer because we haven't seen them play at all."
The entire Blue Hen squad and coaching staff and about 500 blue and gold-clad fans filled the Trabant Student Center to watch the pairings show aired live on ESPN Television. Delaware was one of the teams featured on the ESPN broadcast and the crowd went wild when Delaware's name was called. Martin and All-American Elena Delle Donne were also interviewed live during ESPNU TV's NCAA Tournament Special show.
The Blue Hens will be making their third ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after facing North Carolina State in 2001 and Michigan State in 2007. Delaware enters the tournament with a 30-1 record, having won a school-record 20 consecutive games and claiming its first ever Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title over the weekend in Upper Marlboro, Md.
The Trojans enter the tournament with a 20-12 record, and recently claimed their second consecutive Sun Belt Conference title to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.
The Blue Hens are led by junior All-American Elena Delle Donne, who leads the nation with 27.5 points per game and was recently named the CAA Player of the Year and CAA Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Junior Lauren Carra, a third team All-CAA selection, ranks second on the team with 10.3 points per game, while classmate Danielle Parker chips in 8.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest.
"This season has been a dream for us and to share it with my teammates has been phenomenal" said Delle Donne. "We just can't wait until Sunday. We're extremely confident heading into it all. We are ready and just thrilled to get going. We're also excited for people to finally see us play. I think people will have fun watching us."
The Trojans, entering the Big Dance on a seven-game winning streak, are led by freshman guard Taylor Gault, who leads UALR by averaging 16.3 points per game. Senior center Marian Kursh is the only other Trojan averaging double figures at 12.3 points per game while leading the squad with 8.1 boards per contest.
The game will be the first ever meeting between Delaware and UALR, who did not play any common opponents this season.
To order tickets, fans should visit www.bluehens.com/madness. Tickets, which include both games on Sunday and the second round game on Tuesday, cost $50 for all chairback seats and $40 for end zone seats.