TAMPA, Fla. — After winning its first-ever regular-season and conference tournament title, the University of South Florida women’s basketball team has earned the No. 8 seed in the Mercado Region of the 2021 NCAA tournament.
“There are 360 teams that play Division-I basketball and you’re one of the 64 still playing, it’s really difficult to play in the NCAA Tournament,” USF head coach Jose Fernandez said.
Despite the excitement of making the Big Dance, Fernandez felt that his team deserved a higher seed.
“We were the AAC regular-season champs, we were the AAC tournament champs,” Fernandez said. “If that garners an eight seed, I don’t know what we could’ve done differently.”
More games on the schedule might have helped. USF (18-3, 12-2 AAC) was forced to pause the season for a month due to coronavirus.
“Last year the season got cut short, you never want to take for granted being able to play,” USF guard Sydni Harvey said. “We go out every day, try your best, go hard.”
The Bulls are set to play No. 9 Washington State (12-11, 9-10 Pac-12) in the first round in Austin, Texas, on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. If they win that game, USF will face ACC Champion and top-seeded North Carolina State.
“I’m Washington State and N.C. State are thinking why is South Florida in our quad? But we don’t know what goes on in that room. Every year it changes,” Fernandez said. “I think we’re better than an eight seed. But again, now, we just got to go out and just play and prove it.”
This is the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance for the program.