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Historic NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Upsets and Cinderella Runs



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The NCAA DI women’s basketball tournament has witnessed its share of Cinderella stories, with notable upsets and underdog runs leaving a lasting impact on the sport. Among these, the historic matchups between Harvard and Stanford in 1998, Gonzaga‘s surprising run to the Elite Eight in 2011, and Creighton‘s impressive Elite Eight appearance in 2022 stand out.

Looking at the notable achievements of low seeds in tournament history, certain teams have defied the odds in each round. For instance, the No. 16 Harvard team’s iconic upset over No. 1 Stanford in 1998 remains a standout moment, showcasing the potential for underdogs to make their mark.

Furthermore, programs like Texas A&M, Liberty, and Marist have also made notable runs as lower seeds. These teams managed to reach the Sweet 16 stage, highlighting the unpredictability and excitement that the NCAA women’s basketball tournament offers fans each year.

Reflecting on specific Cinderella stories, the 1998 Arkansas team’s surprising Final Four run is a testament to the tournament’s ability to produce memorable upsets. Riding on the wave of momentum following Harvard’s historic win over Stanford, Arkansas capitalized on the chaos in the West Region to make a deep tournament run.

In a similar vein, the 2013 Louisville squad’s journey to the national championship game as a No. 5 seed showcased the team’s resilience and determination. By toppling higher-seeded opponents, including defending champion Baylor, Louisville made a strong case for the impact of underdog stories in women’s basketball.

Finally, the ultimate achievement of winning the NCAA women’s basketball tournament as a low seed has been realized by notable programs such as North Carolina, Tennessee, and LSU. These teams have etched their names in history by claiming the national title despite starting the tournament with lower seeding positions.

Rachel Adams

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