ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy women’s basketball team learned its NCAA Tournament fate Monday night while attending a Selection Show party at Federal House Bar & Grille in Downtown Annapolis. The Midshipmen, winners of their third Patriot League Tournament title in as many years, garnered the No. 15 seed in the Bridgeport, Conn., Regional. Navy will face second-seeded Kentucky Sunday at Carnesecca Arena on the St. John’s campus in Queens, N.Y. The game will tip at 12:05 p.m. EDT and will be aired live on ESPNU.
The Navy Ticket Office will not be selling tickets for the game. Tickets can be purchased through the St. John’s Ticket Office either online at RedStormSports.com or by phone at 1-888-GoStorm. Single session ticket prices are $10 for students/youths, $10 for senior citizens and $15 for adults. An all-session pass that allows entry to both Sunday’s first round and Tuesday’s second round are $15 for students/youths, $15 for senior citizens and adults can purchase a pass for $25.
Kentucky posted a 27-5 record this season. The Wildcats advanced to the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament where they fell to Texas A&M. Kentucky placed second in the SEC during the regular season with a record of 13-3, and was ranked seventh in both national polls that were released Monday by the Associated Press and USA Today.
Kentucky will be making its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 10th trip to the event in all. The Wildcats lost in the Elite Eight in both 2010 and 2012, with a loss in the round of 32 coming in 2011.
Navy, which compiled a 21-11 record this season and shared the Patriot League regular season crown with an 11-3 record, has faced a team out of the current SEC three times in its history. The Mids have lost a pair of games to Florida, most recently during the 2010-11 season, and defeated Mississippi once.
Navy is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The 14th-seeded Mids lost to No. 3 DePaul, 56-43, in a 2011 first-round game played at Penn State in their initial appearance in March Madness. Navy then received a No. 15 seed last season and lost, 59-44, to No. 2 Maryland in College Park.
Sunday’s second game at the site features No. 7 Dayton facing region-host and 10th-seeded St. John’s. The winners of the two games will meet Tuesday for the right to move on to Bridgeport.
“I’ve never seen Kentucky play,” said Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.), who was tabbed as the MVP of the Patriot League Tournament. “They are a No. 2 seed, so obviously they are a great team. It is a great opportunity to go to Queens, my family is from New York, it’s just a great opportunity to play. The higher the seed gets, the less there is for us to lose. We’re going to go up there and give it our all.
“I think a 15 seed is great. We’re just so blessed to be in the same position we have been in the last two years. It is still exciting (with it being our third NCAA Tournament), but in different ways. Each year is different; it is a different team, a different vibe, but it is nice it is not something new. We’ve been in this position before.”
“I’m so happy we got a 15 seed,” said Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.), who received first-team all-league honors this season for a second year in a row. “I don’t know a lot about Kentucky. We’re just excited to get in there, try and get a win.
“Definitely, it is still exciting. You can just feel the nerves when you are watching the TV just waiting for it flip over and show Navy and see who we are playing. It is so exciting every time. Even walking over here, everyone was just so hyped.”
“It is a really, really strong opponent,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper of facing Kentucky. “They are going to be challenging the way Maryland was and not the way DePaul was. They are deep, tall, athletic, long and they have one of the best players in the country in A’dia Mathies.”