1986 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament
The 1986 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament began on March 12 and ended on March 30. The tournament expanded to 40 teams from 32. The Final Four consisted of Texas, Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and USC, with Texas defeating Southern California, 97-81 in the championship game. Texas's Clarissa Davis was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. With their championship win, Texas completed the first undefeated season (34-0) since the NCAA began sponsoring women's basketball in 1982.
|1986 NCAA Division I|
Women's Basketball Tournament
|Finals site||Rupp Arena|
|Champions||Texas (1st title)|
|Runner-up||USC (3rd title game)|
|MOP||Clarissa Davis (Texas)|
James Madison opened their regular season with a game against Virginia, which the Cavaliers won by 14 points, 71–57. James Madison went on to a regular season record of 26–3, which earned them an 8 seed in the Tournament. As the higher seed, they were eligible to play their first-round game at home, but they were unable to host, so played their opponent, Providence at the home court of Providence. James Madison won the close game 55–53, to move on to the second round. Their opponent would be Virginia, who earned a number 1 seed in the tournament. The game started out with the Cavaliers taking five points with just over eleven minutes to go in the first half. The JMU Dukes then held Virginia to only a single field goal for the rest of the half and took an eleven-point lead at halftime. The two teams would play roughly evenly in the second half, with Virginia only managing to reduce the lead by two points. James Madison won the game 71–62, advancing to the regional semifinal, which was the first time in the five-year history of the NCAA Tournament that a team had defeated a number 1 seed prior to the Regional round.
After earning a number one national ranking in 1984, but stumbling in the regional's finals to national power Louisiana Tech, Texas seemed poised for a better result in 1985. Not only did the team earn another top national ranking, but they entered the NCAA Tournament knowing that if they reached the Final Four, they would have the home court advantage with the final games scheduled for their own Frank Erwin Center. Home court would play a part, but not the part hoped for by the Longhorns. In the regional semi-finals, played at the home court of Western Kentucky University, the Hilltoppers stymied the Longhorn's hopes with a 92–90 victory. They would return to the 1986 tournament viewed as one of the top teams in the nation and were once again ranked the top team in the nation, but they still did not have a Final Four NCAA appearance on their resume.
The Texas team won their first game easily, then continued to the regional, this time on their home court. They dispatched Oklahoma easily, then struggled against Mississippi, who were trying to prevent the team from a Final Four yet again. This time, Texas prevailed and beat Mississippi by three points to head to their first NCAA Final Four. Their opponent in the semifinal was none other than Western Kentucky, who had denied them the previous year. This time, the result would be very different, as the Longhorns beat Western Kentucky easily, 90–65.
The other semifinal pitted Tennessee against Southern California. Cheryl Miller was the best player at USC, and had led the team to the national championship in 1984. Miller went on to play for the USA national team and helped the USA win the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. 1986 was Miller's senior year at USC. The game between Tennessee and USC was a rematch of a physical game played in December, in which Miller was thrown out of the game for an elbow. The game was close, but USC ended up with an 85–77 win. In the rematch, Miller would again come out of the game, but under very different circumstances. She was worried about getting hurt, and with a 70–51 lead, didn't need to stay in. In that game, USC won by 24 points, 83–59.
That set up the championship game between USC and undefeated Texas. The Texas team was very deep but had suffered a number of injuries during the year. The game was close early with the Trojans leading at times in the first half, but Texas went on a 10–2 run to take a seven-point lead. Miller would have one of the worst games in her career. Although she scored 16 points, twelve of those were from the free throw line. She was only 2 for 11 from the field, without a single point in the second half. In contrast, Texas' Clarissa Davis came off the bench to score 25 and earn Most Outstanding Player honors. USC's Cynthia Cooper scored 27 points, and Texas won the national championship 97–81 to complete the first undefeated season in NCAA history.
Cheryl Miller set the Final Four record of free throws in a single game with 12, in the championship game.
Clarissa Davis set the Final Four record for rebounds in a half, with 14 in the second half of the semifinal game.
The National Championship game between Texas and USC set several Final Four scoring marks:
- Most points by one team—97
- Most points combined by both teams—178
- Most field goals in a game—40
Texas had 23 assists in the semi-final game, a record (since 1985, when the category was established), and followed that with 22 in the championship game.
Kamie Ethridge had 20 assists in the two Final Four games, a record for the combined Final Four games.
Qualifying teams – automatic
|Pennsylvania State University||Atlantic 10||23–7||12–4||3|
|University of Maryland, College Park||ACC||17–12||6–8||6|
|Villanova University||Big East||21–7||12–4||7|
|University of Missouri||Big Eight||19–11||8–6||9|
|Ohio State University||Big Ten||22–6||16–2||3|
|University of Utah||High Country||21–7||11–1||9|
|University of South Carolina||Metro||19–10||9–1||7|
|La Salle University||MAAC||21–8||10–2||10|
|University of Southern Illinois||Missouri Valley Conference||25–3||18–0||6|
|University of Montana||Mountain West Athletic||26–8||13–1||8|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Ohio Valley Conference||19–9||13–1||10|
|University of Georgia||SEC||29–1||9–0||1|
|University of North Texas||Southland||20–9||7–3||10|
|University of Texas at Austin||Southwest||29–0||16–0||1|
|Western Kentucky University||Sun Belt Conference||29–3||6–0||4|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas||WAC||22–8||11–3||5|
Qualifying teams – at-large
|Rutgers University||Atlantic 10||27–3||16–0||2|
|Saint Joseph's University||Atlantic 10||22–6||12–4||5|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Atlantic Coast||22–8||10–4||4|
|North Carolina State University||Atlantic Coast||18–10||9–5||6|
|University of Virginia||Atlantic Coast||26–2||13–1||1|
|Providence College||Big East||24–5||14–2||9|
|University of Oklahoma||Big Eight||23–6||10–4||4|
|University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign||Big Ten||19–9||12–6||8|
|University of Iowa||Big Ten||22–6||15–3||5|
|James Madison University||Colonial||26–3||11–1||8|
|Louisiana Tech University||Independent||25–4||-–-||2|
|Drake University||Missouri Valley||21–7||16–2||10|
|University of Washington||Northern Pacific||23–5||10–2||7|
|California State University, Long Beach||Pacific Coast||28–4||14–0||3|
|University of Southern California||Pacific West||27–4||8–0||1|
|University of Kentucky||Southeastern||18–10||4–5||7|
|Louisiana State University||Southeastern||25–5||6–3||2|
|University of Mississippi||Southeastern||22–7||6–3||2|
|University of Tennessee||Southeastern||21–9||5–4||4|
|University of Arkansas||Southwest||22–7||13–3||8|
|Texas Tech University||Southwest||21–8||13–3||6|
Bids by conference
Twenty-one conferences earned an automatic bid. In thirteen cases, the automatic bid was the only representative from the conference. Eighteen additional at-large teams were selected from seven of the conferences, plus one independent (not associated with an athletic conference) team earned at-large bids.
|7||Southeastern||Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt|
|4||Atlantic Coast||Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Virginia|
|3||Southwest||Arkansas, Texas Tech, Texas|
|3||Big Ten||Illinois, Iowa, Ohio St.|
|3||Atlantic 10||Penn St., Rutgers, St. Joseph's|
|2||Missouri Valley||Drake, Southern Ill.|
|2||Big Eight||Missouri, Oklahoma|
|2||Big East||Providence, Villanova|
|1||Pacific West||Southern California|
|1||Pacific Coast||Long Beach St.|
|1||Ohio Valley||Middle Tenn.|
|1||Mountain West Athletic||Montana|
|1||Metro Atlantic||La Salle|
First and second rounds
In 1986, the field expanded to 40 teams. The teams were seeded, and assigned to four geographic regions, with seeds 1-10 in each region. In Round 1, seeds 8 and 9 faced each other for the opportunity to face the 1 seed in the second round, while seeds 7 and 10 faced each other for the opportunity to face the 2 seed. In the first two rounds, the higher seed was given the opportunity to host the first-round game. In most cases, the higher seed accepted the opportunity. The exceptions:
- Illinois was an eight seed, but chose not to host, so the game was played at nine seed Ohio
- James Madison, the eight seed, played ninth seeded Providence at Providence
- Arkansas, the eight seed, played ninth seeded Missouri at Missouri
- Kentucky, the seven seed, played the tenth seeded Drake at Drake
The following table lists the region, host school, venue and the twenty-four first round locations:
Regionals and Final Four
The Regionals, named for the general location, were held from March 20 to March 23 at these sites:
- Midwest Regional Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas (Host: University of Texas)
- East Regional Palestra, Philadelphia (Host: Villanova University)
- Mideast Regional Carver–Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa (Host: University of Iowa)
- West Regional Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California (Host: Long Beach State)
Bids by state
|4||Pennsylvania||Penn St, Villanova, La Salle, St Joseph's|
|3||California||Southern Ill, Long Beach St, Southern California|
|3||Tennessee||Middle Tenn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt|
|3||Texas||North Texas, Texas, Texas Tech|
|2||Kentucky||Western Kentucky, Kentucky|
|2||Louisiana||Louisiana Tech, LSU|
|2||North Carolina||North Carolina, North Carolina St|
|2||Ohio||Ohio St, Ohio|
|2||Virginia||Virginia, James Madison|
|1||South Carolina||South Carolina|
Games played at better seed except where noted.
East Regional – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Palestra)
|6||North Carolina State||59|
Midwest Regional – University of Texas – Austin, Texas (Frank Erwin Center)
Mideast Regional – University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (Carver–Hawkeye Arena)
|10||Middle Tennessee State||77|
|10||Middle Tennessee State||65|
West Regional – Long Beach State University – Long Beach, California (Long Beach Arena)
|10||North Texas State||54|
|3||Long Beach State||69|
|3||Long Beach State||78|
|6||Texas Tech||73 (OT)|
Final Four – Lexington, Kentucky (Rupp Arena)
Record by conference
|Conference||# of Bids||Record||Win %||Round
|Mountain West Athletic||1||1–1||.500||1||–||–||–||–|
- Clarissa Davis, University of Texas at Austin
- Fran Harris, University of Texas at Austin
- Cheryl Miller, University of Southern California
- Cynthia Cooper, University of Southern California
- Clemette Haskins, Western Kentucky University
- Gregory Cooper. "1986 NCAA National Championship Tournament". Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- "CHN Basketball History: Most Outstanding Player". Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- Nixon, Rick. "Official 2102 NCAA Women's Final Four Records Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- "2012-13 JMU Women's Basketball Guide". James Madison University. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "2009-10 JMU Women's Basketball Guide". James Madison University. p. 110. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Celebrating perfection: 1986 Texas Women's Basketball". Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- CART, JULIE (March 29, 1986). "USC Women Win, and It's Without a Fight". LA Times. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- CART, JULIE (March 31, 1986). "Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball". LA Times. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Jackson, Melanie (March 31, 2006). "With a freshman leading the way, Texas runs the table". ESPN.
- "National Championship moments: 1986 Women's Basketball". Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Attendance and Sites" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 19 March 2012.