After a Division I college basketball season like no other—nearly 2,000 games canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 issues—regular season play has wrapped up and postseason action is at hand. With last year’s postseason canceled, those teams who get to keep playing this spring are psyched.
All games of the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament will be played in and around San Antonio, Texas. Therefore, the four regions all have names reflective of San Antonio. The No. 1 seed in the Mercado Region is North Carolina State. The Wolf Pack will take on North Carolina A&T, an HBCU and winner of the MEAC Tournament, on Sunday, March 21.
The Mercado Region will also include Rutgers University, the No. 6 seed, taking on BYU on March 22. The lone New York team in this region is Stony Brook, making its first-ever trip to the Big Dance. The Seawolves take on Arizona on Monday. There is also a player with local roots in this region. Harlem native Jordan Nixon is a guard with No. 2 seed Texas A&M, which plays Troy in the first round.
In the Hemisfair Region, the top seed is University of South Carolina, which was part of history in the SEC Tournament, the first time two Black female head coaches, Dawn Staley of USC and Joni Taylor of Georgia, faced off in the final game. There are no teams from NY or NJ in this region, but No. 2 seed Maryland does include sophomore guard Diamond Miller of New Jersey
The top seed in the Alamo Region is Stanford University, marking coach Tara VanDerveer’s 33rd Tournament appearance. The NY team in this region is Marist College, making its return to the Big Dance. The Red Foxes take on No. 2 seed Louisville on Monday.
The River Walk Region includes top seed University of Connecticut, which takes on High Point on Sunday, March 21. The Huskies will be without head coach Geno Auriemma for at least the first two rounds of the Tournament because he tested positive for COVID-19. He reported being asymptomatic and hopes to join the team as soon as he’s cleared. Should any of the 64 teams drop out due to positive COVID tests, replacements will be selected.
In other postseason action, two D I schools from the Bronx are playing. Fordham University received an at-large bid to the WNIT. The Rams open play on March 19. Manhattan College will play in the eight-team WBI, also starting play on Friday.