NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The 13th-ranked Vanderbilt women's basketball team will face Western Carolina in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, March 21, at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
The Commodores (24-8, 10-4 Southeastern Conference) received the No. 4 seed in the Raleigh Region, and will face off with the No. 13 seed Catamounts (21-11, 14-6 SoCon), champions of the Southern Conference.
The winner of Saturday's first round game will face either No. 5 seed Kansas State or No. 12 seed Drexel on Monday, March 23. One team will advance from the Albuquerque pod into the Raleigh Regional (March 28 & 30).
The other three pods that will feed into the Raleigh Regional are College Park, Md.; Lubbock, Texas; and Baton Rouge, La. Maryland is the top seed in the Raleigh bracket, with Baylor and Louisville receiving the two and three seeds, respectively.
The Commodores are making their second consecutive trip to Albuquerque's Bob King Court, known as The Pit. Last year, Vanderbilt came into New Mexico as the four seed and advanced past Montana and West Virginia to reach the Sweet 16 for the 13th time in school history. The Dores would fall in the regional semifinals in Spokane, Wash., to top-seeded Maryland.
Vanderbilt is making its 22nd overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and its 10th consecutive trip since 2000.
This year, Vanderbilt received the SEC's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC Tournament for the fourth time in eight years. The SEC Tournament championship marked Vanderbilt's sixth overall and the school's second in the last three seasons.
The Catamounts' balanced scoring attack is led by senior Brooke Johnson, a 6-4 senior from Seymour, Tenn. Western Carolina was the No. 4 seed in the SoCon Tournament before reeling off victories over Elon, Samford and College of Charleston to capture the league's automatic bid.
WCU's Head Coach, Kellie (Jolly) Harper, was a three-year starter at point guard for the University of Tennessee.