For the third year in a row, the Gonzaga women will experience a Selection Monday that’s anything but normal.
Two years ago, head coach Lisa Fortier was taking a lunchtime jog when she got the news that ESPN had accidentally leaked the Zags’ portion of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
That night, the players and coaches still held a “re-reveal” party on campus and eventually advanced to the second round.
Last year there was no party – and no tournament whatsoever, thanks to COVID-19.
One year later, the tournament is back, but Selection Monday will be a virtual affair, with only players, coaches and a few others in attendance.
This year’s bracket reveal show will begin at 4 p.m. on ESPN.
There also won’t be much mystery. With the entire tournament set to begin March 21 in San Antonio, the Zags (23-3) already know their destination.
And because they’re ranked 16th in the NCAA’s NET rankings, it’s a safe bet that they’ll be a 4 or 5 seed in one of the brackets.
That means GU will be a solid favorite in its first-round game and close to a 50-50 pick in the second round before a probable matchup against the top seed in its region. The experts certainly see it that way. At ESPN, bracketologist Charlie Crème has the Zags as a 5 seed, facing 12 seed Bowling Green in the opening round, then potentially playing 4 seed Kentucky.
The bracket at College Sports Madness also has GU as a 5 and playing Bowling Green before taking on West Virginia or Stephen F. Austin.
Asked last week how she thought the Zags would perform, Fortier said, “I think I’m cautiously optimistic.”
“But I’m even more excited about our team, just thinking about what we just did,” she added.
Last week, on the eve of Tuesday’s West Coast Conference Tournament title game in Las Vegas, several players came down with stomach flu.
Trailing almost the entire game, the Zags pulled out a 43-42 victory on a clutch last-second shot by senior Jill Townsend.
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