Sandra Dukes-USA Today Sports
For the 19th time in 20 years Purdue will play in the women's NCAA Tournament.
Purdue's impressive run of 19 NCAA Tournament appearances in 20 years will continue this coming weekend. The Boilers were already a solid at large team, but by virtue of the ninth Big Ten Tournament victory the Lady Boilers assured themselves of another NCAA appearance via automatic bid.
Not only that, Purdue has had a habit of staying around once in the tournament. The Big Ten's premier program has not lost a first round NCAA Tournament game since 1996. That's a streak of 15 straight appearances with at least one victory. In that time Purdue has won a National championship, been National runner-up, reached four Elite Eights, and two additional Sweet 16's.
The only tournament Purdue missed in the last 20 years was 2010, when they went 15-17 through a nasty spate of injuries.
Purdue will be the 4 seed in the Oklahoma City Region of the bracket. The No. 1 seed in this region is Baylor, who is the unanimous No. 1 and has one loss in the last two years to Stanford by 2 points back in November. That makes them 72-1 over the last two seasons and 106-4 over the last three years with three straight Final Fours before this season. The No. 2 is Tennessee and the No. 3 is UCLA. Louisville is the No. 5 seed and will play Middle Tennessee State. The Boilers will play Liberty in the first round, the Louisville-MTSU winner in round two, and, for all intents and purposes, Baylor in round 3.
The Purdue first and second round games will be played in Louisville on the home floor of the Cardinals, so Purdue fans have a close region to go to. Purdue plays at Noon on Sunday.