SALT LAKE CITY — It's been a decade since the University of Utah served as a host for the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The drought will end Saturday when the Huntsman Center hosts a pair of first-round games. Seventh-seeded Arizona State (20-10) takes on 10th-seeded Temple (23-8) at 2 p.m., then host Utah (18-16), a No. 15 seed, takes on second-seeded Notre Dame (26-7) at 4:30 p.m. The winners will meet Monday at 7:30 p.m., for a berth in the Sweet 16.
"It is great seed for us," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw told the Associated Press. "We were hoping for a two and you never know where they are going to put you, so it will be a great seed for us. It is great to be talked about on ESPN as possibly going to the Final Four, too. It is great to be in that conversation."
The Hall of Famer, who has guided Notre Dame to 16 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, said the focus is now on Utah.
"I got a chance to watch them win their conference tournament and it will be a very good game." McGraw said. "We are kind of excited that Utah is in the tournament because that means there will be a great crowd out there. We like to play in an atmosphere where is a lot of people there."1 comment on this story
Temple coach Tonya Cardoza told reporters that the Owls are looking forward to the trip as well.
"Obviously we're excited to get in," she said. "We were just sitting around talking about (how) we've never been to Utah and we know that Arizona State is a really good team."
Tickets (which include admission to all three games) are $25 for adults and $10 for fans under 18.
When Utah hosted first- and second-round games in 2001, the fifth-seeded Utes advanced to the Sweet 16 with victories over Fairfield (79-57) and Iowa (78-69).