Colorado women's basketball watched and cheered as they learned their NCAA fate Monday night at a gathering at the upper gym in the Boedecker Practice Facility. The Buffs are a five seed in the Norfolk region, playing 12 seed Kansas, Saturday at the Coors Events Center in the first round.
Also coming to Boulder will be No. 4 seed South Carolina (24-7), and the 13 seed South Dakota State (25-7).
"We're extremely thrilled to be in the NCAA tournament," said head coach Linda Lappe. "It's been a few years for our program, and we're very, very proud of the work our players have been able to do all season long, allowing us the opportunity today to see our name on the screen."
Saturday will mark the first time CU has played Kansas since the Buffs left the Big 12 at the end of the 2010-11 season. The Jayhawks defeated Colorado three times during that final season, including a 71-45 shellacking in the Big 12 tournament.
"Oh yeah, we were grinning, as soon as our name and Kansas came up on the screen, we all looked at each other like ‘this is our time right here,'" said senior guard Chucky Jeffery.
2013 marks Colorado's 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament, and their first since 2004. Saturday's game will also represent the first time the Buffs will play in an NCAA tournament game without former head coach Ceal Barry roaming the sidelines.
The Buffs have the opportunity to host the first and second round because of efforts made by athletic director Mike Bohn. The opportunity to host is given to sixteen schools who submit bids. Bohn put in a bid two years ago, with confidence that Lappe would get the Buffs back to the big dance in 2013.
"When we started the season we talked about making sure that we didn't watch four other teams play in our gym (in the NCAA tournament)," said Lappe. "We're very happy that we get to be one of those four teams.
It's a huge advantage. (Coors Events Center) is a place where we've had good success in all year. We've had good fan support. I think it's going to be one of the best first and second round games in terms of attendance that you're probably going to find out there."
Colorado has sold 2,700 all session passes as of Monday... Colorado has advanced to the regional semifinals six times in program history... The Buffs have advanced to the regional finals three times, losing all three games to Texas Tech, Georgia and Oklahoma... This marks the first time Colorado has been given a five seed in the NCAA tournament. The Buffs have been on the one, two, three, four, six and seven lines before, but never the five... While Lappe hasn't coached in the NCAA tournament, two of her assistants have. Jonas Chatterton and LaTonya Watson have nine combined appearances in the big dance.