No. 16 Duke seeded 4th in NCAA WBB Tournament

Chris Baird, Triangle Sports Network

DURHAM, N.C. – The 16th-ranked Duke Blue Devils (21-10) were seeded No. 4 in the Spokane Region and will play 13th-seeded Albany (24-8) in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament, as announced on Monday.

Previous to ESPN’s Championship Selection show airing on Monday, the Blue Devils had been predicted to be one of 16 hosts in the Tournament’s opening rounds.

“It’s great to get at least one more game in Cameron – it’s very exciting,” senior guard Ka’lia Johnson said.

“Every team in this tournament is very, very good. Albany’s a great team and they’re well-coached so it’s going to be a good game.”

“This is our last chance to play together with this specific team, and I think we really enjoy that, so we’re going to try to keep it going as long as we can.” senior forward Elizabeth Williams added.

The Blue Devils will tip off against the Great Danes at Noon on Friday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The game will also be aired on ESPN2.

The Blue Devils have earned one of the top eight seeds in 14 out of the last 15 years in the NCAA Tournament and are coming off Elite Eight appearances in four out of the last five years.

The No. 4 seed is the lowest for the Blue Devils since the 1997 campaign as the Blue Devils snapped a streak of five straight years as a No. 2 seed.

Albany is making its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance after taking down Hartford, 84-75, to win the America East Conference Championship.

The Great Danes have been led by Shereesha Richards (21.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), Imani Tate (14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Sarah Royals (9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds) on the season.

Duke and Albany have faced each other two times with the Blue Devils leading the overall series 2-0.

“We’re just excited to have an opponent and to play. Obviously it’s an honor to host anytime in the NCAA Tournament, so we’re excited,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“It’s anytime, anywhere, any place at this point. It’s a great opportunity to get out there and play well, really get after it, be successful and move on.”

McCallie will go up against one of her former coaches as Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was an assistant coach at Michigan State from 2000-02 with McCallie.

The winner of the Duke/Albany game will advance to face the winner of the No. five seed Mississippi State vs. No. 12 seed Tulane game, which will tip at approximately 2:30 p.m.

The second round contest will be played Sunday, March 22 at 12 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Mississippi State is currently ranked No. 12 nationally and received an at-large bid to the tournament.

On the season, Victoria Vivians (15.1 points, 65 treys), Martha Alwal (9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds) and Morgan William (8.9 points, 129 free throws) have led the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State will be making its seventh appearance in the NCAAs.

Tulane was awarded an at-large selection in the NCAA Tournament and will be making its 11th appearance.

The Green Wave have been paced by Kolby Morgan (12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds), Danielle Blagg (9.4 points, 58 treys) and Leslie Vorpahl (7.5 points, 36 treys) on the season.