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Women’s Basketball – Bring on No. 1 UConn in NCAA Tournament, Ragin’ Cajuns coach Brodhead says

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 9, 2021

Bring on Geno Auriemma and the Huskies.

That was the sentiment from Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball coach Garry Brodhead after a 73-65 loss to Troy in Monday’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game in Pensacola, Florida.

Troy earned the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Afterward Brodhead was asked whether he thought his Cajuns, whose 15-game win streak ended Monday, deserved an at-large bid.

“Hey, with COVID you never know,” he said. “I mean, we’re open. … We’ll play UConn.”

UConn, which has won 11 NCAA Tournaments under Auriemma, is ranked No. 1. The Huskies were 23-1 heading into Monday night’s Big East title game against Marquette.

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UL (16-6) already has an automatic WNIT bid as a regular-season conference champion. The 32-team WNIT field will be announced March 15, after the 64-team NCAA Tournament field is released.     

If UL doesn’t get an NCAA Tournament bid, it will open WNIT play March 19 at one of four Regional sites — Fort Worth, Memphis, Charlotte or Rockford, Illinois. Geographic preference is given to WNIT Regional assignments, so the Cajuns could wind up in Fort Worth or Memphis.

If they don’t land an NCAA Tournament invite.

Brodhead said the Sun Belt is working to become a two-bid league like it was in 2007, the only time the UL women made an NCAA Tournament in their 49-season history.

The Cajuns lost their opening game, 87-58, that year to Marquette. Brodhead remembers the season well.

He was in his final year of a 10-season run coaching Teurlings Catholic High, before spending five seasons as McNeese State’s associate head coach and becoming UL’s coach in April 2012.

“Middle Tennessee was ranked 13th in the country … and we (the Cajuns) played them in the finals,” Brodhead said.

MTSU, now a Conference USA member, won. But UL still qualified for the NCAA Tournament.