The Chattanooga women’s basketball team had known for the last week that it was headed to the NCAA tournament, but on Monday night, the squad was informed of precisely what lies ahead.
The players, gathered alongside supporters at Jefferson’s Restaurant to watch the ESPN Selection Show, found out their first-round matchup, which pits the 11th-seeded Lady Mocs against sixth-seeded Syracuse.
Chattanooga, making its second straight NCAA tournament appearance, received a No. 11 seed is last year’s tournament as well. The Lady Mocs won’t have to travel near as far this time, though, as their opening-round game against the Orange is set for Saturday (1:30 p.m.) at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.
The Lady Mocs (29-3), led by hall of fame head coach Jim Foster, punched their tournament tickets last Monday, receiving the Southern Conference’s automatic bid by claiming its 15th SoCon tournament title in school history. The Lady Mocs posted a perfect 18-0 mark in league play and notched their 19th SoCon regular season crown.
Chattanooga has never faced Syracuse (22-9), which suffered a 79-63 loss last week’s ACC quarterfinals to fourth-ranked North Carolina State-led by former Lady Mocs head coach Wes Moore. UTC is just 1-11 in NCAA tournament play, with the school’s only win coming at McKenzie Arena back in 2004-a 74-69 victory over Rutgers.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on twitter @MichaelNooga.