INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Drake and UNI will represent the Missouri Valley Conference in the Women's NCAA Tournament, as the Panthers joined the automatic bid Bulldogs in the field of 64-team, the NCAA announced Monday evening.
2017 marks the 11th time in conference history that at least two Valley teams earned NCAA Tournament berths and first since 2013 (Creighton and Wichita State).
No. 20/18 Drake (28-4) is a No. 10 seed and will play at No. 7 seed Kansas State (22-10) Saturday, March 18. The first-round game in Manhattan, Kan. will start at 3 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN2.
The Bulldogs are making their 11th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first NCAA appearance since 2007. In 2007, Drake lost to eventual NCAA champion Tennessee.
Drake and Kansas State have played 17 games all-time with the Wildcats holding a 12-5 advantage. The two teams last played each other in 2000 at the Knapp Center in a tight contest won by Kansas State, 69-63. The winner of Drake and Kansas State will face the winner of No. 2 Stanford and No. 15 New Mexico State on Monday, March 20.
The Panthers are slated to play DePaul on Friday, March 17 in Starkville, Miss. in the Oklahoma City Region at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
It is the third time in program history that the Panthers have secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, also appearing in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011. The selection is the first at-large bid the Missouri Valley Conference has received since 2013 and just the 11th in conference history.
This is UNI’s seventh post-season appearance in the last eight seasons. UNI has played against the DePaul Demons three times in program history (1983, 1985, 2001) with the 2001 game taking place in the WNIT.
The Panthers enter the NCAA Tournament with a 24-8 overall record, which included a 9-5 non-conference finish. UNI has faced off against eight teams ranked inside the top-100 in RPI, beating three inside the top-60 and is the only Valley school with two top-25 RPI wins.