NCAA Women's Basketball Bracket 2021: Results, Seeds, Reaction and Analysis

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

Stanford celebrates after defeating UCLA in an NCAA college basketball game in the Pac-12 women's tournament championship Sunday, March 7, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Tara VanDerveer became the all-time winningest coach in women's basketball earlier this season. Now, she'll look to cap off a historic season with Stanford's third national title.

The selection committee announced the 64-team field for the 2021 installment of the tournament Monday, and the Cardinal claimed the No. 1 seed in the Alamo Region.

Connecticut, South Carolina and NC State joined Stanford atop the four regions.


2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket


NCAA Women’s Basketball @ncaawbb

The Alamo region! #ncaaW https://t.co/Wz2wNlzse4



NCAA Women’s Basketball @ncaawbb

The Mercado region! #ncaaW https://t.co/efmJrccVhA



NCAA Women’s Basketball @ncaawbb

The Hemisfair region! #ncaaW https://t.co/Ne5F3F9KkO


River Walk

NCAA Women’s Basketball @ncaawbb

The River Walk region! #ncaaW https://t.co/ET8YWHNjE9


Stanford successfully navigated its way through arguably the toughest conference in the country. The Cardinal went 25-2, avenging both of their defeats to Colorado and UCLA. In the case of the latter, they hammered the Bruins 75-55 in the Pac-12 title game.

Few programs have enjoyed the kind of consistency Stanford has had under VanDerveer. The program's last national championship was in 1992, though. This could be the year the Cardinal end that drought.

Four players (Kiana Williams, Haley Jones, Lexie Hull and Cameron Brink) are scoring in double figures, and Stanford's defense is eighth in points allowed (52.7 points per game) and second in opponent field-goal percentage (32.6).

Breanna Stewart not only led UConn to four straight national titles but also collected four NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player nods. Paige Bueckers will look to keep pace with Stewart this spring.

The 5'11" guard has been excellent in her first year with the Huskies. She's averaging 19.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds. She's also shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from beyond the arc.

"Name one player that has taken a team this young to where we are today," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said of Bueckers' case to be the national player of the year. "Who's done more than her? And if you can give me a better argument, then I would say I'll vote for them, too. But I don't think you can."

Crediting Bueckers solely for UConn's 24-1 would be a disservice to the rest of the roster. Evina Westbrook is a dynamic playmaker, while Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa are combining to score 28.3 points per game.

But Bueckers is the singular talent the Huskies have lacked since Stewart graduated and moved on to the WNBA.

Whereas UConn seems to be a lock for the Final Four every year, NC State has struggled historically to get over the hump. Largely a product of the Kay Yow era, the Wolfpack have reached the Sweet 16 on 13 occasions but have just one Final Four trip on their resume.

NC State won both of its head-to-head meetings with Louisville and knocked off No. 1 South Carolina in December.

A double-digit overtime loss to Virginia Tech preceded that first victory over the Cardinals, but Elissa Cunane was absent on that occasion. The junior center made her impact felt in the ACC tournament, averaging 23.3 points and nine rebounds.

The selection committee had NC State fifth behind No. 4 Texas A&M in its most recent top-16 ranking. The committee obviously saw enough in the ACC tourney to vault the Wolfpack into their first-ever No. 1 seed.

Brandon Sudge @brandonsudge

Wow, Texas A&M gets dropped to a No. 2 seed, presumably from losing to Georgia. Aggies have only two losses and were a projected No. 1 seed for a long time.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA tournament, Baylor enters as the defending champion.

NaLyssa Smith and Moon Ursin were supporting players during that 2019 title run and have emerged as key pieces for the Lady Bears. Smith is the team's leading scorer (18.1 points) and rebounder (9.1 boards), while Ursin has filled up the stat sheet (11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals).

DiDi Richards has made a full recovery from a spinal cord injury in October that left her temporarily paralyzed. The senior guard's defense was invaluable when the team went all the way two years ago, and her contributions on that side of the floor will once again set the tone for Baylor.

The selection committee did Baylor few favors, slotting the Lady Bears into the River Walk Region with UConn. That could be a great Elite Eight clash.

Tee @SheKnowsSports_

UConn, Michigan, Baylor- all in the same region... #ncaaW #SelectionMonday https://t.co/amSxYOoCFp

Charlotte Carroll @charlottecrrll

This River Walk Region is something: UConn, Baylor, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky. Wow

The NCAA is staging the women's tournament across multiple sites in Texas. The Alamodome in San Antonio will host the Final Four starting April 2.