ESPN 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four Fact Sheet – April 3 & 5

BasketballCollege Basketball - Women's

ESPN 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four Fact Sheet – April 3 & 5

21st year of exclusive coverage; 14th year covering all 63 games
Play-by-Play Veteran Beth Mowins Joins Game Coverage

Downloadable ESPN Images: http://bit.ly/1MknMMZ
ESPN Front Row – Mowins Joins Coverage: http://es.pn/1ZQqeCC

NCAA Women’s Final Four from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
National Semifinals – Sunday, April 3
1 UConn vs. No. 2 Oregon State at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN / WatchESPN
4 Syracuse vs. No. 7 Washington at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2 / WatchESPN
National Championship – Tuesday, April 5
Semifinal winners at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN / WatchESPN

Production

  • Features, vignettes and segments on each Final Four team, including UConn Chasing History elements and various inside looks at the Huskies
  • Additional features, vignettes and segments:
    • She’s Got Name: With so many unique and distinguished names in the tournament, Rebecca Lobo explores who’s at the top
    • ESPN men’s basketball analyst Jay Bilas voices his own opinions on the women’s game, asking the question to those who are bored with UConn’s dominance – “Are you really sick of witnessing history?”
  • Creative elements will feature the song “Strong Enough” by J’Kahi featuring Raign, highlighting the strength and capability of the women’s basketball players. Graphical elements and use of bold colors will complement the scripts and the words from the women themselves to tell the stories of the tournament
  • Pregame locker room access, in-game head coach and halftime player interviews, as well as on-set studio interviews with special guests
  • Potential guests on set include Final Four coaches on game day
  • Interact on Twitter via @espnW, @ESPN_WomenHoop and #NCAAWFF for the final weekend

ESPN Technology

  • The use of 16 cameras to cover the games, with the ability to have 21 different positions, plus four cameras focused on the in-arena studio set
  • Technologies used during the Final Four telecasts
    • ‘ESPN Virtual 3’ – an innovative technology which illuminates the 3-point line for every 3-point shot attempt – will debut at the Women’s Final Four; it has previously been used for all NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC broadcasts and at the ACC Men’s Basketball Championship – introduced this season
    • The ART system (telestrator device) will be incorporated within the telecasts for the fifth consecutive year
    • Two Avid Symphony Nitris DX Mac systems onsite to support pre-production pieces for the games and studio

SportsCenter will present in-depth coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four with on-site set presence from Negandhi, Lawson and Lobo; SportsCenter reports from Holtzman and the airing of NCAA Women’s Final Four specific features.

ESPN Final Four Commentators

  • Beth Mowins makes her television debut at the Women’s Final Four as the play-by-play announcer, and is joined by analyst Doris Burke and reporter Holly Rowe
  • In-arena studio set located in between sections 1 and 20 featuring host Kevin Negandhi with Kara Lawson and Lobo
  • Reporter Bob Holtzman provides updates for SportsCenter live from Indianapolis

Game Commentators
Doris Burke: Burke began covering basketball for ESPN in 1991. She currently is an analyst on men’s and women’s college and NBA games, a sideline reporter for select telecasts and appears on the Wednesday editions of NBA Countdown. Burke was a basketball player at Providence College and was named a NCAA 2012 Silver Anniversary Award recipient.

Beth Mowins: Mowins joined ESPN in 1994 as a play-by-play commentator, and is making her television debut for ESPN at the Women’s Final Four, having previously called the games for Westwood One radio. She currently calls several NCAA Championships, in addition to regular-season games for college football, women’s basketball and softball. A graduate of Lafayette College, Mowins captained the varsity basketball team. She was a three-time all-conference selection, 1,000-point scorer and is still the school’s all-time assists leader with 715. Mowins earned her master’s degree in communications from Syracuse University in 1990.

Holly Rowe: Rowe began working ESPN telecasts in 1995, and joined the network on a regular-basis in 1998. She primarily covers college football, men’s and women’s basketball and softball as a reporter, as well as the NBA and WNBA. Rowe has also provided play-by-play commentary for women’s college basketball, softball and volleyball. She is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Studio Team
Kevin Negandhi: Negandhi is in his third year as a women’s basketball studio host. He joined ESPN in September 2006 as an anchor for ESPNEWS and currently works on the newest edition to the network’s morning shows, SportsCenter:AM. Negandhi got his start covering women’s basketball while attending Temple, where he was a 1997 graduate.

Kara Lawson: Lawson is in her 12th year as an analyst for ESPN. She works men’s and women’s college basketball games, studio for both sports and calls NBA games for ESPN Radio. Lawson led the University of Tennessee to three straight Final Fours and was a two-time All-American. She won a gold medal with the 2008 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team in Beijing and will be entering her 13th season with the WNBA, currently playing with the Washington Mystics. She won a league title in 2005 with the Sacramento Monarchs.

Rebecca Lobo: Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a women’s college basketball and WNBA analyst. She won an NCAA Championship in 1995 with the University of Connecticut where she was a National Player of the Year and an All-American. In addition, Lobo won a gold medal with the 1996 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team during the Atlanta Olympics and played in the WNBA for seven seasons.

Stephanie White & Andy Landers: The duo joins ESPN’s Final Four studio coverage providing segments throughout the Final Four weekend as part of Coaches Corner. White has been with ESPN since 2007, and calls ESPN2’s women’s Big Monday games and select telecasts during the season, in addition to her responsibilities as head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. Landers is in his first season at ESPN and SEC Network after a longtime coaching career at the University of Georgia.

SportsCenter Reporter
Bob Holtzman: Holtzman joined ESPN in 2000 as a reporter, primarily handling stories featured in the network’s award-winning news and information franchises – SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Outside the Lines, Baseball Tonight, NBA shows and others. Holtzman graduated from the University of Kansas.

espnW @ The Championship
espnW.com will continue to highlight stories surrounding the Final Four with certain aspects integrated into the game telecasts.

  • In-depth and on-site coverage, including features and video analysis from Charlie Creme, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel
  • espnW’s The Trifecta on ESPN Radio will broadcast onsite from Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2, from noon – 3 p.m., hosted by Kate Fagan and Jane McManus
  • From pre-game to tip-off and beyond the confetti, espnW social channels will capture the sights and sounds of the Women’s Final Four and championship game with behind-the-scenes Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook posts
  • espnW’s Facebook page will stream a live discussion from Indy leading into all the big-game action
  • espnW’s Tourney Snapshots will continue to provide images for each team on site in Indianapolis
  • Facebook Q&A with ESPN women’s basketball commentators
  • espnW reporters and commentators will join Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson on the W @ The Championship video set breaking down the games, coaches and players, as well as video of the sites and scenes around Indianapolis, including fan interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Video interviews with WNBA players and coaches, including Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings, as well as local Indy athletes and celebrity fans of the Final Four teams
  • Exclusive announcement Monday of the Nancy Lieberman Award winner

ESPN Digital

  • WatchESPN is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
  • ‘ESPN3 Surround’ – an alternative viewing experience with different camera angles and natural audio sound from inside the arena returns for the semifinals and final, as well as ESPN3 coverage of the trophy presentation on Tuesday
  • ESPN3 will have coverage of the Women’s Final Four pre-game (day before) and postgame (immediately following all three games) press conferences

ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge
Several statistics highlight ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge and the teams that advanced to the Final Four

  • Only eight brackets out of the total entries correctly predicted the entire Final Four. Additionally, only 0.33 percent of entries had at least three correct picks to advance to the Final Four.
  • UConn was the most popular pick in every round of Tournament Challenge, and was picked to win it all in a staggering 66 percent of entries.
  • President Obama’s bracket currently sits in the 62nd percentile and he correctly picked UConn to advance to the Final Four, and has the Huskies winning it all.
  • Percent of brackets picking the national champion:
    • UConn: 66 percent; Oregon State: 0.9 percent; Syracuse: 0.3 percent; Washington: 0.1 percent
  • Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the national title game:
    • UConn: 80.8 percent; Oregon State: 2.8 percent; Syracuse: 1.0 percent; Washington: 0.3 percent

ESPN International networks, plus the digital player, will offer both national semifinals live on ESPN UK and Tres South and delayed on Latin North, as well as semifinal #1 on ESPN PacRim, ESPN2 Caribbean and delayed on ESPN Brazil HD. Semifinal #2 can be watched on ESPN PacRim2, ESPN Caribbean and ESPN Brazil HD. The title game will be live on ESPN PacRim, Latin North, Tres South, ESPN Caribbean, ESPN Brazil HD and ESPN UK, in addition to tape-delay on Dos and Tres North. All three games will be live on our digital players (serving SSLA, Brazil, Europe and Australia/New Zealand).

ESPNFrontRow.com will provide a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, getting to know ESPN analyst and local Indy native Stephanie White at ESPN, technology at the Women’s Final Four and more.

Women’s Final Four Specials
NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One: The 30-minute Women’s Final Four preview show will be hosted by Negandhi with analysts Lawson and Lobo, as well as segments from Landers and White, from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, will precede the National Semifinals Sunday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN and WatchESPN.

College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special: The 90-minute special, hosted by Matt Schick with analysts Julianne Viani and Brooke Weisbrod, on Tuesday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN will highlight and preview the Women’s National Championship title game.

NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One: ESPN and WatchESPN will tip off the National Championship game coverage with an hour-long preview special, also hosted by Negandhi, Lawson and Lobo, as well as segments from Landers and White, from inside the arena on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.

NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four Schedule (subject to change)

Sun, Apr 3 5:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One (Indianapolis)
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo
ESPN / WatchESPN
  6 p.m. National Semifinal Game 1 (Indianapolis)
Beth Mowins, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. National Semifinal Game 2 (Indianapolis)
ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Tue, Apr 5 5:30 p.m. College Basketball Live: NCAA Women’s Championship Special
Matt Schick, Julianne Viani, Brooke Weisbrod
ESPNU / WatchESPN
  7:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One (Indianapolis)
Kevin Negandhi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo
ESPN / WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. National Final (Indianapolis)
Beth Mowins, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe
ESPN / WatchESPN

ESPN Analyst Predictions

Analyst Semifinal 1 Winner

(UConn vs. Oregon St.)

Semifinal 2 Winner

(Syracuse vs. Washington)

Title Game Winner
Charlie Creme UConn Syracuse UConn
Graham Hays UConn Washington UConn
Andy Landers UConn Syracuse UConn
Kara Lawson UConn Syracuse UConn
Rebecca Lobo UConn Washington UConn
Carolyn Peck UConn Syracuse UConn
LaChina Robinson UConn Syracuse UConn
Michelle Smith UConn Washington UConn
Mechelle Voepel UConn Syracuse UConn
Stephanie White UConn Syracuse UConn

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Rachel Margolis Siegal

As part of the College Sports PR team at ESPN, it has been an exciting adventure for me since I joined the worldwide leader in July 2010, working on college football, college basketball, college lacrosse and WNBA properties. I began my love of sports as 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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