ESPN Networks Home to Entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship

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ESPN Networks Home to Entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship

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ESPN Networks Home to Entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship

  • Connecticut, Notre Dame and South Carolina to Have Early-Round Games Aired in Full National Windows
  • 20th Year of Overall Coverage, 13th Airing all 63 Games

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One will be shown in its entirety across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, WatchESPN and ESPN FULL COURT beginning with first-round action on Friday, March 20. Play culminates with the NCAA Women’s National Championship game on Tuesday, April 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN from Tampa Bay, Fla.

The top four seeds – Connecticut, Maryland, Notre Dame and South Carolina – are all playing home games for the first and second rounds with the new format of the top 16 seeds hosting (note: No. 3 Louisville will not be hosting due to a conflict at the KFC Yum! Center). ESPN2 is home to all first-round games, including a full national window showcasing top-seeded UConn vs. No. 16 St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday, March 21, at 9 p.m. Regionalized coverage includes South Carolina against No. 16 Savannah State at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, followed by Notre Dame vs. No. 16 Montana at 7 p.m. and Maryland facing No. 16 New Mexico State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.

The noon and 2:30 p.m. second-round games on Sunday, March 22, will be regionalized on ESPN2, while the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. games will have full national windows on ESPN (Notre Dame, Ind. & Columbia, S.C. sites) and ESPN2 (Corvallis, Ore. & Berkeley, Calif. sites). Monday’s second-round games will have four regionalized contents at 6:30 p.m., followed by three games at 9 p.m. The Tallahassee site will have a full national window on ESPNU at 6 p.m.

The final 15 games of the tournament, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2, as well as WatchESPN.

WatchESPN is accessible online at, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Additional NCAA Championship content will be available across multiple platforms, including, SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and ESPN International.

First and Second Round – Regionalized & Home Market Protection
Coverage Highlights
Commentator Highlights
First- and Second-Round Schedule
Regional Schedule
Final Four Schedule
Thoughts from Selection Monday

First and Second Rounds – Regionalized & Home Market Protection

  • In the home markets of the competing teams, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game of local interest. While constant updates from the other games will be provided in the home market, the networks will not switch to another game during live action, thereby establishing home market protection.
  • For the first and second rounds, multiple games (as many as four) will begin within one telecast window. During those windows, the coverage will showcase the best action for viewers in the majority of the nation (except in the home markets of the competing teams).
  • Select first- and second-round games will be aired in a full national telecast on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, with supplemental coverage on WatchESPN.
  • ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT will carry the games in full that are not being aired in a national window.

Coverage Highlights

  • Continuing to elevate the tops stars during game telecasts with ESPN’s “Need to Know” initiative by identifying two players in each game to showcase.
  • Vignettes and segments from feature shoots at UConn, Maryland, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
  • Creative elements featuring the song “Fire and Gold” by Disney recording artist Bea Miller.
  • espnW’s Tourney Snapshots (photos from game sites) featured throughout the telecasts.
  • Interact on twitter via @espnW, @ESPN_WomenHoop and #NCAAW for the first, second and regional rounds and #NCAAWFF for the final weekend. Also interact on Facebook at com/espnW.

Commentator Highlights

  • Anchor Kevin Negandhi, with analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo, will be part of ESPN’s studio coverage for the early rounds and then on-site at Amalie Arena at the Final Four in Tampa Bay.
  • Play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien and veteran analyst Doris Burke will return for early-round coverage, including No. 9 seed Green Bay vs. undefeated and No. 8 seed Princeton from College Park, Md. The duo will also call the Albany Regional and Final Four.
  • Big Monday duo of Beth Mowins and Stephanie White are paired for the first and second rounds in Notre Dame, Ind., and the Greensboro Regional.
  • Reporters at each Regional site will include LaChina Robinson, Maria Taylor, Allison Williams and Holly Rowe, who will also work the Final Four with O’Brien and Burke.
  • New to this year’s coverage are analysts Sue Bird, Gail Goestenkors, Carol Ross, Katie Smith and Steffi Sorensen.
  • Men’s college basketball analyst and studio contributor LaPhonso Ellis will work the first and second rounds from Storrs, Conn., along with Bob Wischusen.
  • First- and second-round play-by-play announcers Wischusen and Dave Flemming, as well as analyst Sean Farnham, will also be working ESPN’s coverage of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) first round.
News, analysis and commentary will be provided throughout the women’s tournament, from Selection Monday through the Women’s Final Four in Tampa Bay. Highlights:

  • Stats, analysis and stories on additional players to watch.
  • Columnists will provide live coverage of each round of games from coast-to-coast, with video highlights of the matchups, plus Lobo will also contribute.
  • Coverage of the top stars in the women’s game through ESPN’s “3 to See” initiative – Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart (UConn) and Jewell Loyd (Notre Dame), in addition to the “Need to Know” series – Nina Davis (Baylor); Brittany Boyd (Cal); Moriah Jefferson (UConn); Elizabeth Williams (Duke); Lexie Brown (Maryland); Rachel Banham (Minnesota); Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina); Aleighsa Welch (South Carolina); A’ja Wilson (South Carolina) and Amanda Zahui B. (Minnesota).
  • Tourney Snapshots, which includes team- and fan-submitted social media photos and video with behind-the-scenes access to teams, players and coaches, will return for the third consecutive season.
  • Women’s Tournament Challenge is where fans and experts alike can pick their brackets and earn points throughout the tournament.
  • com staff and a handful of WNBA players will face off in an Women’s Tournament Challenge group.
  • W @ NCAA Final Four is an exclusive espnW franchise devoted to capturing the excitement surrounding the Final Four & Championship games in Tampa Bay. The content will consist of all-access from the behind-the-scenes lens with the use of video interviews, social media activation and television integration.

For the first time, FiveThirtyEight will cover the probabilistic projections for the NCAA Women’s Championship. On Tuesday, March 17, the website will debut an interactive bracket that calculates each team’s chance of advancing through the rounds. In addition to updating the data in the bracket throughout the week, FiveThirtyEight’s sportswriters will deliver a variety of data-driven stories tied to the tournament.

ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge
The game returns for the 18th season on the digital hard court and will once again be free for entrants to submit up to 10 entries on Fans complete and submit a bracket of forecasted tournament game outcomes and points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the Tournaments progress. In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries that finish in the top one percent are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card. The Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept registration until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Friday, March 20.

2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One First- and Second-Round Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
First Round (various sites)
Fri, Mar 20 Noon No. 13 Albany vs. No. 4 Duke (Durham, N.C.)
Tiffany Greene, LaChina RobinsonNo. 10 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Dayton (Lexington, Ky.)
Brenda VanLengen, Carol RossNo. 11 Miami vs. No. 6 Washington (Iowa City, Iowa.)
Clay Matvick, Katie SmithNo. 10 Arkansas at No. 7 Northwestern (Waco, Texas)
Fran Harris, Nell Fortner
  2:30 p.m. No. 12 Tulane vs. No. 5 Mississippi State (Durham, N.C.)No. 15 Tennessee State vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.)No. 14 American vs. No. 3 Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa)
No. 15 Northwestern State vs. No. 2 Baylor (Waco, Texas)
  5 p.m. No. 9 DePaul vs. No. 8 Minnesota (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Beth Mowins, Stephanie WhiteNo. 16 Savannah State vs. No. 1 South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
Pam Ward, Carolyn PeckNo. 14 South Dakota State vs. No. 3 Oregon State (Corvallis, Ore.)
Cara Capuano, Steffi SorensenNo. 12 Western Kentucky vs. No. 5 Texas (Berkeley, Calif.)
Melissa Lee, Mary Murphy
  7:30 p.m. No. 16 Montana vs. No. 1 Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Ind.)No. 9 Nebraska vs. vs. No. 8 Syracuse Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 George Washington (Corvallis, Ore.)
No. 13 Wichita State vs. No. 4 California (Berkeley, Calif.)
Sat, Mar 21 11 a.m. No. 10 Pittsburgh vs. No. 7 Chattanooga (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Paul Sunderland, Gail GoestenkorsNo. 9 Green Bay vs. No. 8 Princeton (College Park, Md.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris BurkeNo. 13 Liberty vs. No. 4 North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Mark Kestecher, Christy Winters ScottNo. 10 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Florida Gulf Coast (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Mark Jones, Sue Bird
  1:30 p.m. No. 15 Boise State vs. No. 2 Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)No. 16 New Mexico State vs. No. 1 Maryland (College Park, Md.)No. 12 James Madison vs. No. 5 Ohio State (Chapel Hill, N.C.)No. 15 Alabama State vs. No. 2 Florida State (Tallahassee, Fla.) ESPN2 / ESPN3
  4 p.m. No. 14 BYU vs. No. 3 Louisville (Tampa, Fla.)
Bob Picozzi, Brooke WeisbrodNo. 11 Arkansas-Little Rock vs. No. 6 Texas A&M (Tempe, Ariz.)
Dave Pasch, Deb AntonelliNo. 12 Quinnipiac vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (Stanford, Calif.)
Dave Flemming, Sean Farnham
  6:30 p.m. No. 11 LSU vs. No. 6 USF (Tampa, Fla.)No. 14 Ohio vs. No. 3 Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.)No. 13 Cal State Northridge vs. No. 4 Stanford (Stanford, Calif.)No. 9 Seton Hall vs. No. 8 Rutgers (Storrs, Conn.)
Bob Wischusen, LaPhonso Ellis





  9 p.m. No. 1 UConn vs. No. 16 St. Francis Brooklyn (Storrs, Conn.) ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Second Round (various sites)
Sun, Mar 22 Noon Durham, N.C. & Iowa City, Iowa. ESPN2 / ESPN3
  2:30 p.m. Lexington, Ky. & Waco, Texas ESPN2 / ESPN3
  7 p.m. Columbia, S.C. ESPN / WatchESPN
  Corvallis, Ore. ESPN2 / WatchESPN
  9 p.m. Notre Dame, Ind. ESPN / WatchESPN
  Berkeley, Calif. ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Mon, Mar 23 6 p.m. Tallahassee, Fla. ESPNU / WatchESPN
  6:30 p.m. Chapel Hill, N.C., College Park, Md., Knoxville, Tenn., & Stanford, Calif. ESPN2 / ESPN3
  9 p.m. Storrs, Conn., Tampa, Fla. & Tempe, Ariz. ESPN2 / ESPN3


2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One Regional Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Fri, Mar 27 7 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Greensboro, N.C.)
Beth Mowins, Stephanie White, Maria Taylor
  7:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Pam Ward, Carolyn Peck, LaChina Robinson
  9 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Greensboro, N.C.) ESPN / WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Oklahoma City, Okla.) ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Sat, Mar 28 Noon Regional Semifinal (Albany, N.Y.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe
  2 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Albany, N.Y.) ESPN / WatchESPN
  4:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Spokane, Wash.)
Dave Pasch, Debbie Antonelli, Allison Williams
  6:30 p.m. Regional Semifinal (Spokane, Wash.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Sun, Mar 29 Noon Regional Final (Greensboro, N.C.)
  8:30 p.m. Regional Final (Oklahoma City, Okla.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Mon, Mar 30 7 p.m. Regional Final (Albany, N.Y.) ESPN / WatchESPN
  9 p.m. Regional Final (Spokane, Wash.) ESPN / WatchESPN


2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented By Capital One Final Four Schedule (subject to change)

Sun, Apr 5 6 p.m. NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One (Tampa Bay, Fla.)
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo
  6:30 p.m. National Semifinal Game 1 (Tampa Bay, Fla.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe
  9 p.m. National Semifinal Game 2 (Tampa Bay, Fla.) ESPN / WatchESPN
Tue, Apr 7 5:30 p.m. College Basketball Live: NCAA Women’s Championship Special
Matt Schick, Brooke Weisbrod & Steffi Sorensen
  7:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One (Tampa Bay, Fla.)
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo
  8:30 p.m. National Final (Tampa Bay, Fla.)
Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe

 Thoughts from ESPN’s Selection Monday show
Selection Monday picAfter the bracket was exclusively revealed on ESPN during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Monday Special Presented by Capital One on March 16, ESPN analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo offered insight into the bracket with analysis of each region, teams, plus the players to watch as they vie for a Final Four spot in Tampa Bay. Highlights:

On the bracket
Kevin Negandhi:
On the men’s side it feels like it is Kentucky vs. the field, this feels like it is UConn vs. the field.

On top-seeded Connecticut
They are back in their usually perch, atop of the women’s college basketball landscape. UConn is so terrific on the offensive end of the floor; all five of their starters have the ability to score the basketball.

Lawson: It’s not just the plays that they run, it’s also the ability to read and react on the fly.

Lawson: There was a tremendous sigh of relief from some programs around the country when they saw they were not in Albany with the Connecticut Huskies.

On where Breanna Stewart ranks among UConn greats
Sue Bird:
If Breanna Stewart goes ahead and wins four national championships, she might go down as the best player in UConn history. Mainly because, there have been so many great players – Diana Taurasi, Nykesha Sales the list goes on – but you are usually judged at UConn by how many championships you win. It’s hard to argue with Diana’s three and it would be hard to argue with Breanna’s four.

On No. 1 seed Notre Dame
Notre Dame has one of the most dangerous weapons on the offensive end in the country. Jewell Loyd, the All-American, and what makes her special is the ability to take and make challenge shots.

Lobo: Notre Dame has one of the best offenses in the country because they have great guards and they have players that know how to play well with one another.

On No. 1 seed South Carolina
South Carolina has inside, tremendous size and depth… This is going to be a South Carolina team that is difficult to beat.

On Princeton
This is a Princeton team that has nice balance, they can get out in transition, and they have selective shooters on the 3-point line, a stretch floor in Tarakchian. They look excited, but you wonder what they expected their seed to be.

Lobo: I think that’s what it was all about [strength of schedule]. They only had three wins vs. top 50 teams, but Princeton beat everyone that was put in front of them. Maybe next year they will play a tougher non-conference schedule.

Lawson: I was a little surprised with the eight seed. I thought it was a little bit low, not just because of Princeton winning every game but watching them play, this is a sound team.

Lawson: This is the challenge for teams in the lower conferences. When you are in one of those conferences, your best chance to be a high seed is really the eye test.

Lawson: You have to look at this team – and I love the way Courtney Banghart phrased it – game-by-game, because that’s what they did all season long. The reality of it is, Princeton has an opportunity to do something historic in the first game of the Tournament. They have the chance to win their institution’s first NCAA Women’s Tournament basketball game. That has to have their complete focus.

A two-seed to keep an eye on
I love Florida State and what they’ve done this year. Disappointing performance in the ACC final against Notre Dame but Sue Semrau’s team is so good on the offensive end of the floor, particularly on the offensive glass.

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma (taped interview)
They should be feeling like this is a great opportunity, if they are feeling like why us. If they are moaning and groaning about it the whole time, then they might as well not show up because we are going to beat them by 50. If they handle it right and say this is a great opportunity, I want nothing more than to play Connecticut for the right to go to the Final Four… Cause if we beat them, there is nobody at the Final Four we can’t beat.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese
This team made it look easy… A new conference, a young team led by one senior in Laurin Mincy. Credit this team, they came out and they worked extremely hard and took no off nights.

Maryland guard Lexie Brown on what to take from last year’s Final Four run
Playing in last year’s Final Four gave us a lot of experience. Even though we are a young team with only one senior, making it that far in the Tournament has been extremely helpful this season. We’re excited to get back into Tournament play.

Dru Hancock, Chair of NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee
On undefeated Princeton being a No. 8 seed

They had a historic year; great for them, great for the Ivy League. Quite frankly, they didn’t have any wins in the top 25, their strength of schedule was not good, their RPI was fine. But 21 of their 30 wins came against teams with an RPI over 100. We really felt that we put them in the right place.

On deciding the four, No. 4 seeds, who get to host
We probably spent as much time talking about that four seed line as anything we did anything in the past four days. Specifically, we had more conversations about [the fourth], four seed because that was critical. There were a couple of teams vying for that spot. We ended up putting Cal there over Mississippi State primarily because of their big wins over Arizona State and Stanford, four top 50 wins and Mississippi State’s strength of schedule hurt them. They didn’t have any top 25 wins.

Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart
On being undefeated
The pressure of being undefeated, I give our team all the credit. They have been laser-like focused on the process of being good; on the process of getting better. That meant a game-to-game-to-game process and that is going to help us in the tournament. That has led us to 30-0 and something we will always be proud of.”

On what seed she thought they would be
I thought we would have a higher seed than an 8 [seed]. I have been in the tournament at Princeton five times and I have been in the 8-9 game three of the five years. I have been the nine seed the last two times I have been here in this tournament and that was with a team that didn’t have quite the success this team has had. I understand scheduling is a part of it; scheduling is a challenge. There are a lot of variables… and we are only half of the scheduling equation. There are other teams answering the phone and telling us to try again another year. So we are doing the best we can with our schedule.




Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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