How many double-digit seeds have ever reached women's Elite Eight?


Editor’s note: No. 10 Creighton is advancing to the Elite Eight after pulling off a 76-68 upset win over No. 3 Iowa State.

Creighton and South Dakota have brought madness to March.

The Blue Jays and Coyotes emerged as this year’s Cinderella teams in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with shocking second round victories. The two No. 10s are the lowest remaining seeds heading into this weekend’s Sweet 16.

After beating No. 7 Colorado in the first round, Creighton beat No. 2 Iowa on its home floor on Saturday. For the cherry on top, Lauren Jensen, a transfer from Iowa, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute on a court she used to call home. 

South Dakota, meanwhile, beat No. 7 Ole Miss before going up against No. 2 Baylor. The Coyotes won 61-47 in Waco, Texas, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time while ending the Lady Bears’ streak of consecutive Sweet 16 appearances at 12.

With Creighton and South Dakota’s wins, two double-digit seeds advanced to the Sweet 16 in the same year for the fifth time ever. How have previous squads seeded No. 10 or greater done after the second round, and how many made it to the Elite Eight? Here’s a look at the history Creighton and South Dakota are chasing:

How many double-digit seeds have reached the women’s Sweet 16?

Twenty-seven teams seeded No. 10 or higher have advanced to the Sweet 16, with 25 doing so after the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994.

No. 10 seeds

  • Vanderbilt, 1991
  • Lamar, 1991
  • Missouri, 2001
  • Florida State, 2007
  • Oregon, 2017
  • Creighton, 2022
  • South Dakota, 2022

No. 11 seeds

  • Stephen F. Austin, 1996
  • UAB, 2000
  • BYU, 2002
  • Notre Dame, 2003
  • UC Santa Barbara, 2004
  • San Diego State, 2010
  • Gonzaga, 2011
  • Kansas, 2012
  • Gonzaga, 2012
  • Gonzaga, 2015
  • Buffalo, 2018
  • Central Michigan, 2018
  • Missouri State, 2019

No. 12 seeds

  • San Francisco, 1996
  • Kansas, 2013
  • BYU, 2014
  • Quinnipiac, 2017

No. 13 seeds

  • Texas A&M, 1994
  • Liberty, 2005
  • Marist, 2007

Only one team ranked No. 14 or higher has won an NCAA Women’s Tournament Game. Twenty years before UMBC shocked Virginia on the men’s side, Harvard became the first No. 16 seed to ever beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson pulled off their historic 71-67 win over No. 1 Stanford in the first round of the 1998 women’s tournament.

While one No. 16 seed has a victory over a No. 1 seed, neither a No. 14 or No.15 seed has ever won a first round game in the women’s bracket.

How many double-digit seeds have reached the women’s Elite Eight?

Only three of the 27 double-digit seeds to reach the Sweet 16 moved on to the Elite Eight:

  • No. 10 Lamar, 1991
  • No. 11 Gonzaga, 2011
  • No. 10 Oregon, 2017
  • No. 10 Creighton, 2022

Creighton can join that list on Friday when it squares off against No. 3 Iowa State in Greensboro, N.C. South Dakota’s Sweet 16 matchup is on Saturday against No. 3 Michigan in Wichita, Kan.

Should either team win their Sweet 16 game, they will have a chance to do something no double-digit seed has ever done in the women’s tournament: reach the Final Four.

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