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.
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:
- 2010 NCAA Mens Tournament Dates and Site Breakdown
- 2010 NCAA Womens Tournament Dates and Site Breakdown
- NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament History: Past Champions, Final Four participants, Final Four locations by year, and interesting tournament tidbits
- NCAA Champions – Mens Basketball: All-time list of mens basketball NCAA Tournament champions, ordered from most won to least.
- NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament MOPs: All-Time List
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|
|1987||Tennessee||67-44||Louisiana Tech||Austin, TX|
|1988||Louisiana Tech||56-54||Auburn||Tacoma, WA|
|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|
|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|
|2001||Notre Dame||68-66||Purdue||St. Louis, MO|
|2002||UConn||82-70||Oklahoma||San Antonio, TX|
|2004||UConn||70-61||Tennessee||New Orleans, LA|
|2005||Baylor||84-62||Michigan State||Indianapolis, IN|
|2009||UConn||76-54||Louisville||St. Louis, MO|
|2010||UConn||53-47||Stanford||San Antonio, TX|
|* - 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, Purdue – 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.