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Breaking: 7-seed Northwestern WBB draws UCF in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

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Bring on the Knights!

Michigan v Northwestern - Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

The road to the Final Four begins on Monday at 3 p.m. CDT for Northwestern (15-8, 11-7 B1G).

The ‘Cats are ranked as an 7-seed in the Alamo region. The venue, somewhere in the greater San Antonio area, is yet to be announced.

UCF (16-4, 12-2 AAC) finished second in the American and lost to rivals USF in the finals of the conference tournament. This will be head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson’s second consecutive appearance at the NCAA Tournament, last losing in the first round in 2019.

This contest will be the first between the two programs.

If they were to defeat the Knights, Northwestern would advance to play the winner of the matchup between 2nd-seeded Louisville and 15-seeded Marist. Rounding out the top teams in the Alamo Region are Stanford, Georgia and Arkansas.

This will be Nothwestern’s eighth appearance at the Big Dance in program history and its first since 2014-15, also under head coach Joe McKeown. That team, a 7-seed, fell to Arkansas in its first game 57-55. Last season, the ‘Cats were primed to earn a high seed and host the opening weekend of the tournament at Welsh-Ryan Arena after winning a share of the Big Ten regular season title. However, the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the NCAA Tournament’s cancellation.

The ‘Cats have never gotten past the second round of the NCAA Tournament, last winning a tournament game in 1993.

Northwestern is one of seven Big Ten teams to make the field. Conference tournament and regular-season title holders Maryland earned a 2-seed in the HemisFair Region, while the Mercado Region contains Rutgers, Michigan State and Indiana. Michigan and Iowa are both in the River Walk Region.

The NCAA Tournament will tip-off on Sunday at noon.