NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament: Everything you need to know about the 10 automatic bids still up for grabs



The major conference tournaments for women’s basketball have all wrapped up, with national title contenders such as South Carolina, Iowa and UConn winning their respective leagues. But as Selection Sunday approaches, plenty of automatic bids remain up for grabs

Kent State got things started on Saturday by beating Buffalo to clinch the MAC title, while California Baptist pulled off a comeback to take down Stephen F. Austin for the WAC championship. As all the action continues, here’s everything you need to know about the 11 conference tournaments still to be decided. Note: All seeds are respective to their conferences. 

Atlantic Sun

Championship

  • No. 1 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 3 Central Arkansas, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET — ESPN+

Florida Gulf Coast is back in the ASUN Tournament championship game for a stunning 13th season in a row, and will be looking to make their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Eagles went undefeated in conference play this season and won their first meeting with Central Arkansas by 23. As a result, they’ll be heavy favorites against a Sugar Bears team vying for their first NCAA Tournament trip since 2017. 

Big West

Championship

  • No. 2 UC Irvine vs. No. 5 UC Davis, Saturday, 6 p.m. ET — ESPN+

The UC Irvine Anteaters have only made the NCAA Tournament one time in program history, and that was back in 1995. Now, they’re one win away from returning to the Big Dance, but to get there they’ll have to take down a red-hot UC Davis team. The Aggies have won five games in a row, including three in three days in the conference tournament, including an upset of top-seed Hawaii. The regular season series between Irvine and Davis was split 1-1, which will give both sides confidence they can get the job done. 

Coastal Athletic Association

Semifinals

  • No. 1 Stony Brook 59, No. 4 North Carolina A&T 51
  • No. 6 Towson vs. No. 7 Drexel — In Progress

Championship

  • No. 1 Stony Brook vs. TBD, Sunday, 3 p.m. ET — CBS Sports Network

Conference USA

Championship

  • No. 1 Middle Tennessee State vs. No. 2 Liberty, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET — CBS Sports Network

Middle Tennessee State has not lost since Dec. 30, and cruised through conference play with a perfect record. Of the Blue Raiders’ 18 wins in a row, 16 have come by double digits, and they’re heavy favorites to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. In order to pull off an upset, Liberty will have to play much better than they did in their two regular season meetings, which it lost by a combined 41 points. 

Ivy League

Championship

  • No. 1 Princeton vs. No. 2 Columbia — In Progress

Princeton is looking for a third consecutive Ivy League Tournament championship on Saturday, but will face steep competition from a Columbia team that has won 11 games in a row and handed the Tigers their only regular season loss. Both teams have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament as at-large teams, but neither will want to leave it up to chance. That’s especially true for Columbia, which has never made the Big Dance. 

Metro Atlantic Athletic: Fairfield 

Championship

  • No. 1 Fairfield 70, No. 2 Niagara 62

This has been a magical season for Fairfield, who are 31-1 and ranked No. 25 in the country. When the Stags broke into the national rankings on March 5, it was the first time they had done so in program history. Now, they’ve guaranteed a sixth NCAA Tournament appearance. 

Mid-American Conference: Kent State

Championship

  • No. 3 Kent State 78, No. 4 Buffalo 60

Kent State is going back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Golden Flashes ended their 22-year drought with a comfortable win in Saturday’s MAC Tournament championship. As she has all season long, Katie Shumate led the way with 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and Kent State’s defense proved too much for Buffalo, who shot just 39.7% from the field and turned the ball over 15 times. 

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Championship

  • No. 1 Norfolk State vs. No. 2 Howard — In Progress

Norfolk State has taken over the MEAC the last two seasons, and is now looking for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since the 1990s. To do so, the Spartans will have to defeat Howard, the only team to beat them in conference play this season. Norfolk State won the second meeting earlier this month, but only by six points. Despite the disparity in records between the two teams, it’s clear Howard is a real threat to win Saturday’s rubber match and get to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. 

Missouri Valley Conference

Semifinals

  • No. 1 Drake 92, No. 4 Northern Iowa 83
  • No. 2 Belmont vs. No. 3 Missouri State — In Progress

Championship

  • No. 1 Drake vs. TBD, Sunday, 2 p.m. ET — ESPN 2

Northeast Conference

Championship

  • No. 1 Sacred Heart vs. No. 2 Le Moyne, Sunday, Noon ET — ESPN+

Sacred Heart and Le Moyne have dominated the NEC all season long. The Pioneers went 15-1 in conference play, while the Dolphins were 14-2, with each team beating the other once. Unfortunately, there won’t be much actual drama in Sunday’s title game. Due to the NCAA’s rules on teams transitioning to Division I, Le Moyne is ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament until 2028. Thus, Sacred Heart has earned the NEC’s automatic bid regardless of what happens in Sunday’s title game. 

Patriot League

Championship

  • No. 1 Holy Cross vs. No. 3 Boston University, Sunday, Noon ET — CBS Sports Network

The Patriot League championship game will be an all-Massachusetts affair on Sunday. Holy Cross will be looking for its first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances since 2000-01, while Boston University will hope to get to the Big Dance for just the second time in program history. The two teams split the regular season matchups, and were separated by just one game in the standings, so both should believe they have a chance to win. 

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Championship

  • No. 1 Jackson State vs. No. 6 Alcorn State, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET — ESPN U

Jackson State has won two of the last three SWAC Tournaments, and is heavily favored to make it three of four on Saturday. The Lady Tigers were dominant in conference play this season with a perfect 18-0 record. Their overall win streak has reached 20 games, and in the championship they’ll face an Alcorn State team that finished 12-19 overall this season. If the Lady Braves can somehow complete their Cinderella run, they’ll get to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. 

Western Athletic Conference

Championship

  • No. 1 Cal Baptist 75, No. 3 Stephen F. Austin 74

Cal Baptist is going dancing for the first time in school history after a dramatic win over Stephen F. Austin in the WAC tournament championship game. The Lancers trailed for most of the game, but surged in front late in the fourth quarter by holding the Lady Jacks scoreless for over four minutes, then held on in the final seconds. WAC Player of the Year Chloe Webb led the way with 24 points and 15 rebounds. 





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