Tipping Off: No. 10 Oregon joins top teams in Elite Eight
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The women's Elite Eight field is set and there are a lot of top seeds left.
And then there's Oregon.
The 10th-seeded Ducks became the third double-digit seed to reach the regional final ever with a victory over Maryland on Saturday. Oregon's reward - a matchup with top-ranked UConn.
''They don't know enough to be either intimidated or pressured or anything you'd associate with a team doing this for the first time,'' Auriemma said of the Ducks. ''They are having fun and enjoying the moment as they should. It's really neat to see. ... I said when (Oregon coach) Kelly Graves was hired that it won't be long before they're in the Final Four. I hope it's not this early, but it won't be long.''
Before those two teams square off Monday night, half the Final Four will be set. Notre Dame and Stanford play in the Lexington Regional final and Baylor and Mississippi State meet in Oklahoma City. Those are both 1 vs 2 matchups.
Take UConn out of the mix, and no teams have made the Final Four more in the last decade then the Irish and the Cardinal. Both schools would probably have more national championships if it wasn't for those Huskies, who have won 11 titles in the past 22 years.
It's the third straight season the two teams are playing in the NCAA Tournament. The pair has split Sweet 16 wins the last two seasons, with Stanford winning last year.
''I think something that really sticks out to me is the feeling in the locker room afterward. Our seniors were heartbroken,'' said Irish forward Kathryn Westbeld of the loss. ''I think for me that just kind of stuck. It's something I don't want any of our seniors to have to go through, especially Sunday. So I think that's the motivation that's sticking with me.''
This will be only the second time in NCAA Tournament history that a game will feature two coaches with at least 850 wins. Tara VanDerveer had 925 wins when Stanford beat North Carolina and Sylvia Hatchell (935) in the Elite Eight three years ago.
VanDerveer has 1,011 and Muffet McGraw 853 victories.
The other game on Sunday will feature Baylor and Mississippi State. The Lady Bears are trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since winning the championship in 2012, while the Bulldogs are trying to make it there for the first time.
Here are a few other story lines for the Elite Eight:
GREAT EIGHT: McGraw is 7-0 in Elite Eight games in her coaching career. She's beaten an elite list of coaches, including Pat Summitt, Jim Foster, Brenda Frese and Kim Mulkey twice.
DOUBLE-DIGIT SUCCESS: Graves also took Gonzaga to the regional finals in 2011 as an 11-seed. That run was a little easier as the Zags played the first two games at home. Lamar was the only other double-digit team to get this far, reaching the Elite Eight in 1991 as a 10-seed.
YOUNG SCHAEFER: Mississippi State's Blair Schaefer, the coach's daughter, averaged just over five points per game this season. She's averaging 16.3 in the NCAA Tournament while shooting 50 percent from 3-point range.
''She's prepared all her life for this moment,'' coach Schaefer said. ''There's no moment too big for her. She's shooting the ball well. If y'all want to start trying to figure things out, figure out that this time of year, it's about getting hot.''
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey coached daughter Makenzie and respects how Schaefer has coached his.
''I just have a special place in my heart for coaches who can coach their own kids, do it fairly, and win,'' she said. ''He's doing that with his child.''
AP Sports Writers Gary Graves in Lexington, Kentucky, and Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City contributed to this story.