By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 16, 2010; D01
Given that the Georgetown women's basketball team had waited 17 years to make the NCAA tournament, you wouldn't have thought a 35-minute wait on Monday evening would be so excruciating.
But it was. As the team gathered in a small banquet room on campus with approximately 50 family members and friends to watch the announcement of the bracket, the 13th-ranked Hoyas couldn't find out soon enough where they were headed.
"I knew it was gonna happen, but it was like, 'C'mon already.' We're just sitting here waiting," sophomore forward Latia Magee said. "I'm biting my nails. I'm nervous, just waiting for our name to pop up."
When Georgetown's name finally appeared as the No. 5 seed in the South Region, about halfway through the selection show, the players clapped and cheered.
"Oh man, it was crazy," junior guard Monica McNutt said. "We knew that 4-5 number was coming up but just to hear it and see our name go across the screen, well, you heard us, we were just so excited. We worked so hard."
The Hoyas (25-6) will play No. 12 seed Marist (26-7) in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday at 8:20 p.m. "I'm not surprised. I knew we would go out west," Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "For some reason, I told my coaches, 'We're going out west. I just have a feeling, we're going out west.' There was no way they were gonna send me back home to Norfolk, Va."
Georgetown's first NCAA tournament berth since 1993, and just the second in program history, is just the latest accomplishment in the Hoyas' history-making season, which included a 16-game winning streak and four wins against ranked opponents.
Williams-Flournoy has played a role in both of Georgetown's NCAA tournament appearances. In 1993, she was an assistant coach to then-coach Pat Knapp.
Meanwhile, Virginia is the No. 5 seed in the East Region. The Cavaliers (21-9) travel to Ames, Iowa, to play Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-4) on Sunday at 7:20 p.m.
"This is do or die. It's all or nothing," said Virginia senior Monica Wright, who said she's never been to Iowa. "This being my last tournament, I hope we come together as a team at the right time, we peak at the right time, and we all realize what's at stake and that we all just continue to keep working hard throughout this week. We get down to Iowa and make some noise, get to the Sweet 16 and give U-Conn. a run for its money. We can be the first to knock them out."
Wright, the ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year, is confident this will be the year Virginia finally ends its streak of second-round losses. The Cavaliers haven't made it past the first weekend since 2000. If the Cavaliers were to knock off Green Bay -- the alma mater of men's coach Tony Bennett -- and fourth-seeded Iowa State (23-7) on its home court, they would face top-seeded Connecticut in Dayton, Ohio.
James Madison is the No. 9 seed in the East Region. The Dukes (26-6), who are making their eighth trip to the NCAA tournament and second in the last four seasons, play No. 8 seed Temple (24-8) in Norfolk on Sunday afternoon.
For the first time since 2002, neither of the area's women's basketball powers, Maryland and George Washington, made the NCAA tournament. Also for the second consecutive year, Old Dominion is missing from the field. The Lady Monarchs, who had made 17 consecutive appearances, are hosting first- and second-round games.
After earning back-to-back No. 1 seeds, Maryland (19-12, 5-9 ACC) -- the last NCAA champion not named Connecticut or Tennessee -- will not be part of the 64-team field for the first time in six years. The Terrapins were undone by their youth this season. Every player on the roster had a season or less of college experience with the exception of transfer Lori Bjork, who was in her first season at Maryland.
The Terrapins will appear in the newly expanded, 64-team Women's National Invitation Tournament, announced late Monday night. Maryland will host Iona (18-13) in a first-round game Friday at Comcast Center. American (22-9) also will play in the WNIT, at Old Dominion (18-13) on Wednesday.
GW (6-22, 3-11), meantime, had played in the postseason 18 of the past 19 years, making 15 NCAA tournaments. As recently as 2007 and 2008, the Colonials advanced to the round of 16. But after starting the season with just 10 players and no seniors for the first time since the 1997-98 season, GW was plagued by injuries and was down to seven active players for long stretches.
Staff writer Zach Berman and special correspondent Mark Giannotto contributed to this report.