ASU gets 2 seed, hosts NM State in first round of women’s tourney

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State was selected as one of 16 host sites for this weekend’s first and second rounds of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, the NCAA announced on Monday.

The Sun Devils (25-6, 16-2 Pac-12), regular-season co-champions of the Pac-12, earned a No. 2 seed in the Sioux Falls Region and will open up NCAA Tournament play against the No. 15 seed, New Mexico State (26-4, 13-1 WAC), on Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils’ two-seed is the highest in school history and came despite losses in their final two games.

"Great surprise," junior forward Sophie Brunner told thesundevils.com. "To see that we got a two-seed is just good knowing that all of our hard work has really paid off."

NCAA women's basketball tournament

Also coming to Tempe for the opening weekend of NCAA competition will be the No. 7 seed, Tennessee (19-13, 8-8 SEC), and the No. 10 seed, Green Bay (28-4, 16-2 Horizon). The game between the Volunteers and the Phoenix will precede ASU’s game at 2 p.m. PT on Friday.

New Mexico State, coached by former USC coach Mark Trakh, was the WAC regular-season champion and swept two games to win the conference tournament. The Aggies are led by 6-0 senior guard Sasha Weber (12.3 points per game) and 5-8 junior guard Moriah Mack (11.7). The Aggies played only one game against a Pac-12 opponent this season, losing 68-64 at Arizona.

The winners from Friday’s games will meet for a berth in the Sweet 16 on Sunday (time TBD) at Wells Fargo Arena.

South Carolina (31-1) is the No. 1 seed in the Sioux Falls region, followed by ASU, Ohio State (24-7) and Syracuse (25-7). The Sun Devils played South Carolina in November in Hawaii, losing 60-58. They won at Syracuse in December, 61-54.

Arizona State will be making its 14th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, its 11th under 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Charli Turner Thorne. The Sun Devils have won at least one NCAA Tournament game in eight of their last nine tournament appearances and advanced to the Sweet 16 a year ago.