MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia women, on the bubble before upsetting three ranked teams in the Big 12 tournament, zoomed to a No. 6 seed in the NCAA brackets released Monday.
They will open the tournament in College Park, Md., on Friday afternoon against 11th-seeded Elon (27-6). Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.
A victory likely would advance West Virginia to a second-round matchup against third-seeded Maryland (30-2), the site host.
Making their 10th NCAA appearance during Mike Carey’s 16-year tenure, the Mountaineers (23-10, 8-10) had a chance to host the first two rounds had they been a seventh seed opposite No. 2 Stanford, whose arena is undergoing renovations. That distinction instead went to another Big 12 team, Kansas State, who will host a four-team pod in Manhattan, Kan.
“We had no idea where we would go,” Carey said. “We were told we may host, that we may go to the West Coast to the South (Region) to now Maryland. It was a surprise for us just like everybody else. At least it is close and we should have no trouble getting there.”
WVU and every other team in the Bridgeport Region faces a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in No. 1 seed UConn (32-0), which has won 107 consecutive games and the last four national titles.
Then again, West Virginia toppled No. 2 Baylor last week in Oklahoma City to win its first Big 12 championship title. That followed victories over then-No. 19 Oklahoma and then-No. 12 Texas.
Sophomore guard Tynice Martin scored 32 against Baylor and was named the Big 12 tournament’s MVP after scoring 82 points in three days.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Martin said. “Having 11 days of rest is good but bad at the same time. It all starts in practice, and I think we can bring the same time same energy.”