UT's Brooke McCarty is coming off a career-best game in Monday's loss to No. 3 Baylor. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Women's Basketball

Texas women look forward to comforts of home as the NCAA Tournament nears

Posted February 23rd, 2018

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Story highlights
  • Sixth-ranked Texas is projected to be a No. 2 seed for next month's NCAA Tournament.
  • The Longhorns' final two regular-season games are at Iowa State on Saturday and at home next Tuesday against Oklahoma.
  • Texas has hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament the past two years, advancing to the Sweet 16 both times.

It appears one of the Texas women’s basketball team’s preseason goals — playing at home when the NCAA Tournament begins next month — has been accomplished.

The sixth-ranked Longhorns, who have two regular-season games left and then the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City, appear to be a lock to play host to the first two rounds of the NCAAs from March 16-19.

When the NCAA women’s tournament selection committee revealed its final top-16 projected seedings on Monday, Texas was No. 8. The top 16 overall seeds will host the first two rounds.

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The committee projected the No. 1 seeds as UConn, Mississippi State, Louisville and Notre Dame. The No. 2 seeds were Baylor, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.

Texas head coach Karen Aston talks with guard Brooke McCarty (11) during a NCAA women’s college basketball game against Stetson at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas has played at home to open the NCAAs the past two years. The Longhorns beat Alabama State and Missouri in 2016 and defeated Central Arkansas and North Carolina State at home last year to advance to the Sweet 16.

“Playing at home (in the tournament) is something you play for all year long,” Texas coach Karen Aston said Friday before boarding a flight for Saturday’s game at Iowa State. “It’s a positive to be able to sleep in your own bed. We’ve worked really hard to get to that place.”

According to the final reveal, Texas would join top-seeded Mississippi State, UCLA and Maryland in the Kansas City regional. The official Selection Monday announcement of the NCAA field will be March 12.

The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament will be March 16-19. Regional action will take place March 23-26 — March 23 and 25 for the Kansas City and Lexington regionals, March 24 and 26 for Albany and Spokane. The Final Four semifinals will be March 30 in Columbus, Ohio and the championship game will be on April 1.

Aston said the Longhorns, who had won seven in a row before losing 93-87 to No. 3 Baylor on Monday, are playing with “good energy” as they get ready for the postseason. She said recent contributions by freshmen Rellah Boothe and Chasity Patterson have helped rest some players.

Texas (22-5, 13-3 Big 12) will be the No. 2 seed when the Big 12 tournament tips off next Friday. Baylor will be the No. 2 seed. The Longhorns’ first game will be March 3 vs. the winner of the March 2 game between the No. 7 and No 10 seeds.

The Big 12 championship game will be played on March 5.

Senior guard Brooke McCarty had the best game of her season against Baylor, scoring a career-high 32 points while converting a career-best seven shots behind the three-point line.

McCarty said it’s the seniors’ responsibility to keep the rest of the team positive.

“We’ve just got to stay positive because they’re looking to us,” she said. “We’re the seniors and so we can’t just walk in there like, ‘man, we should’ve did this or we should’ve did that.’ We’re going to come in there and say what can we do better for the next game.”

Seniors Ariel Atkins, Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and McCarty will play their final regular-season home game against Oklahoma on Tuesday.

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