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Nebraska Women’s Basketball Earns No. 6 Seed in NCAA Tournament, Will Face Texas A&M

by Mar 17, 2024Nebraska Womens Basketball

Nebraska Women’s Basketball Earns No. 6 Seed in NCAA Tournament, Will Face Texas A&M
Photo Credit: Mike Sautter

Nebraska women’s basketball celebrated at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday as its selection to the NCAA Tournament was made official.

The Huskers landed as a No. 6 seed, set to face off against Texas A&M. That game will take place in Corvallis, Oregon, where No. 3 seed Oregon State is the host.

It’s the second tournament appearance for the team in a span of three years. They’ve yet to earn a win in the bracket with head coach Amy Williams at the helm, and look to change that now. Here are three takeaways.

Higher Seed Than Expected

Nebraska likely secured its spot in the bracket with its first win in the conference tournament, but the Huskers beat two tournament teams after that and narrowly fell to Iowa in the Big Ten championship game.

Before that run, they were expected to land around a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After it, most major outlets had the team moved up a line.

A No. 7 seed certainly was possible if the committee weighed Nebraska’s recent play heavily. Any higher than that felt improbable, but it happened anyway.

“We feel thrilled with a six seed,” head coach Amy Williams said after the selection show watch party. “We feel that is what our team worked hard to earn.”

Assistant coach Jessica Keller had campaigned publicly for a higher seed than what was projected, providing evidence of her point. She got her wish, and a “thank you” to the coach could be heard from the crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

A Favorable Path

Nebraska will focus on the matchup ahead of it, but it has a favorable path toward potentially advancing to the Sweet 16.

If the Huskers avoid being upset by No. 11 seed Texas A&M, they’ll likely face Oregon State. The Beavers are not to be messed with, especially with a 16-2 home record, but take a look at the other No. 3 seeds and you’ll see why this path is preferred. LSU is the defending champs and UConn is a women’s basketball dynasty. NC State, while not matching up with those accomplishments, hasn’t missed the tourney since 2016 and was ranked as high as third in the AP Top 25 at points this season.

Oregon State is making its first tournament appearance since 2021, on the other hand. If the Huskers can reach the second round, it’ll be interesting to see how they stack up against Raegan Beers and the Beavers.

Another Texas A&M Meeting

After the surprise departure of Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts earlier this week for Texas A&M, people mostly joked about the potential of the programs meeting in the NCAA Tournament.

Both teams for the Aggies were seemingly on the bubble, and both Nebraska teams didn’t seem to be in high enough of a position to meet them early. Regardless, the selection committees for both men’s and women’s basketball gave them first round showdowns.

Alberts tweeted in response to the reveals, congratulating all coaches involved and acknowledging the connection. Nebraska’s women’s team certainly had a reaction when the Aggies were shown as the opponent, but Williams denied that it’d be any distraction.

“We don’t play against the athletic director,” she said.

Texas A&M went 19-12 this season and 6-10 in SEC play. It lost to the only Big Ten team it played, falling by double-digits against Purdue. Aicha Coulibaly leads the team in scoring, while two other players also average double-digits. Lauren Ware provides size at 6-foot-5 and adds another 9.1 points per game while leading the Aggies in rebounding. She also went to the same high school as Husker starter Logan Nissley in North Dakota.

Nebraska’s biggest challenge may come on the offensive end. Texas A&M has the size to match up with Alexis Markowski and ranked third in the SEC in scoring defense.

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