March Madness History: Women’s Basketball Championship List

Update 3/4/10: This post originally written before the 2009 Women’s Tournament but, as part of our preparation for March Madness 2010, I am updating the links and table to reflect current information as this post still gets lots of visitors each day, which I’m sure will continue as we approach the 2010 tournament.

I have spent the better part of the last two weeks trying to research and dispense as much information as possible about this year’s NCAA Tournament and conference tournaments, as well as the history of the NCAA Tournament, both on the men’s and women’s side.Women's Basketball Championship: List of NCAA Women's Tournament Champions

Yesterday, I posted about the history of the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament MOP award, and a few days ago we looked at the history of every Final Four on the men’s side. (Links below for these posts.)

Today, we jump back over to women’s college basketball to take a brief glance at the history of their tournament.

Before we delve into the table and then discuss, here is your menu of links for our March Madness History series:

Now, let’s take a look at the history of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, which began in 1982 and has seemed to grow in popularity with each year.

As you look at this list, one thing will become clear: Tennessee and UConn have dominated the women’s side of college basketball like no team on the men’s side since UCLA. Neither one has come close to UCLA’s standard of consistent domination and excellence in the 60s and 70s, but Tennessee and UConn are the undisputed #1 and #2 heavyweights of women’s college basketball.

Womens Basketball Championship List: NCAA Championships by Year

Year Women's Basketball Champion Score Women's Basketball Runner-up Site
1982 Louisiana Tech 76-62 Cheyney State Norfolk, VA
1983 USC 69-67 Louisiana Tech Norfolk, VA
1984 USC 72-61 Tennessee Los Angeles, CA
1985 Old Dominion 70-65 Georgia Austin, TX
1986 Texas 97-81 USC Lexington, KY
1987 Tennessee 67-44 Louisiana Tech Austin, TX
1988 Louisiana Tech 56-54 Auburn Tacoma, WA
1989 Tennessee 76-70 Auburn Tacoma, WA
1990 Stanford 88-81 Auburn Knoxville, TN
1991 Tennessee 70-67* Virginia New Orleans, LA
1992 Stanford 78-62 Western Kentucky Los Angeles, CA
1993 Texas Tech 84-82 Ohio State Atlanta, GA
1994 North Carolina 60-59 Louisiana Tech Richmond, VA
1995 UConn 70-64 Tennessee Minneapolis, MN
1996 Tennessee 83-65 Georgia Charlotte, NC
1997 Tennessee 68-59 Old Dominion Cincinnati, OH
1998 Tennessee 93-75 Louisiana Tech Kansas City, MO
1999 Purdue 62-45 Duke San Jose, CA
2000 UConn 71-52 Tennessee Philadelphia, PA
2001 Notre Dame 68-66 Purdue St. Louis, MO
2002 UConn 82-70 Oklahoma San Antonio, TX
2003 UConn 73-68 Tennessee Atlanta, GA
2004 UConn 70-61 Tennessee New Orleans, LA
2005 Baylor 84-62 Michigan State Indianapolis, IN
2006 Maryland 78-75* Duke Boston, MA
2007 Tennessee 59-46 Rutgers Cleveland, OH
2008 Tennessee 64-48 Stanford Tampa, FL
2009 UConn 76-54 Louisville St. Louis, MO
2010 UConn 53-47 Stanford San Antonio, TX
2011       Indianapolis, IN
  * - Overtime      

And just so you don’t have to do it for yourself, here is a quick breakdown of women’s basketball championships by team from most to least:

  • Tennessee – 8
  • UConn -6
  • Louisiana Tech, USC, Stanford – 2
  • Old Dominion, Baylor, Maryland, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas Tech, North Carolina, PurdPat Summit, Tennessee - Women's Basketball Championshipue – 1

Tennessee and UConn have combined for 14 NCAA women’s basketball championships since 1987. That is ridiculous. By comparison, the top combined total for any two men’s programs since 1987 is five. Duke has won three NCAA titles since 1987, while UConn, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky have all won two.

For even more evidence of Tennessee’s dominance, consider the number of Final Fours they have reached: 18. That means that Tennessee has reached the Women’s Final Four 69% of the time. That is just a preposterous number, and proves the greatness of Pat Summit. Louisiana Tech has made 10 Final Fours, UConn has made 9, and Stanford has made 7.

According to the source for this article, the NCAA Women’s Basketball page on Wikipedia, a major breakthrough for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game occurred in 2003 when the championship game was moved to the Tuesday after the men’s title game. This makes the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship the last game of the college basketball season.

The growth of teams in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament has grown as follows:

  • 1982-1985: 32 teams
  • 1986-1988: 40 teams
  • 1989-1993: 48 teams
  • 1994-present: 64 teams

The women’s tournament has also gone through a variety of different seeding processes, most based on regional seeding to keep all teams as close to their home base as possible. Since 1996 though, the seeding process has become very similar to the men’s tournament.

I will be the first to admit that I do not follow women’s college basketball during the regular season. Between the end of football season, my passion for IU and Big Ten men’s basketball, and the beginning of Spring Training, there just is not enough time to follow women’s basketball too. But I do fill out brackets and watch the Women’s Basketball Tournament. And two rules of thumb that I will continue to follow this year: pick Tennessee or UConn to win, and pick Tennessee to make the Final Four.

By doing so, you definitely put the odds in your favor.

Update: Get ready for this year’s NCAA mens Tournament with our March Madness 2010 preview post.

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. techsterdawg says:

    Well man that article was short and had some errors. You left out Florida as a men’s team that has won twice since 1987 and Tennessee didn’t even come close this year.

  2. don allen says:

    Hey dawg…. Seems your a bit in the sauce…

    This is an article about WOMEN’s basketball. And that means the Lady Gators aint hardly been to the big dance, let alone won it 8 times like the Lady Vols… And with a 1000 win coach, the Lady Vols will be right there again next year like they have been every year since the women’s tournment started…

  3. Interesting historical perspective; however you make the statement that UConn has won 5 National titles, but I counted 6! If your documentation is correct, then it looks as though they won the title in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2009. From what the media is saying, it sounds as though Auriemma might be on the verge of winning two or three more titles, due to the fact that most of this year’s starters, being freshmen and sophomores plan to return and play for the school till they graduate. That being the case, he could equal or surpass Pat Summit in the near future having the most title wins in women’s div. 1 basketball. It’s too bad that we are relegated to entertaining ourselves by observing the competition between two or three top programs trying to surpass each other, not in the number of baskets they make but in the number of titles they stockpile. This is due to the unfortunate fact that the women’s game does not have the parity that the men’s game does, (with the exception of UCLA of the 60’s and 70’s),I think there would be more of a following if it did. Just having two or three programs dominating the sport means that only two or three regions of the country are serious and consistent followers of the game when it comes to tournament time; the rest of us are just Cinderella watchers.

    • @Roy, you are correct. I wrote the text of the post before this year’s tournament began and just updated the table after UConn won, so the numbers were off. I changed them though. Thanks for keeping tabs!

      • Actually Jrod and Roy you both are wrong uconn has won 7 national titles including 1995,2000,2002,2003,2004,2009and 2010. And they will be back this year to win an 8th national championship

  4. Did you not notice that the mighty LVs lost to the Fightin’ Jackrabbits, or somesuch, in the FIRST ROUND?

    I don’t think this is the end for that woman in Knoxville, but it may well be the beginning of the end.

  5. the lady vols are the best and they will be back to win the women's ncaa tournament this year. so lady vol haters , hate on someone else because ROCKY TOP WILL WIN NUMBER NINE IN 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  6. Would like 2 mention that Tenn wmn won most of those games when their was no competition from east coast oe mid-west teams.. UCONN has done it with all geographical areas included.. Look at UCONN'S numbers since thee 95 championship,,

  7. Uconn has won 7 national championships not 6.

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