1987 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament
The 1987 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament began on March 11, ended on March 29, and featured 40 teams. The Final Four were Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, and Long Beach State, with Tennessee winning its first title with a 67-44 victory over Louisiana Tech. Tennessee's Tonya Edwards was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
|1987 NCAA Division I|
Women's Basketball Tournament
|Finals site||Frank Erwin Center|
|Champions||Tennessee Volunteers (1st title)|
|Runner-up||Louisiana Tech Techsters (3rd title game)|
|MOP||Tonya Edwards (Tennessee)|
Upsets were not unknown in the NCAA tournaments. For example, in the prior year, two 4 seeds made it to the Final Four. However, in the first five NCAA tournaments, once a team reached the Final Four, no team had beaten a higher seeded team. That changed in 1987.
One semifinal game matched defending National Champion Texas against Louisiana Tech. Although both teams were 1 seeds, the Texas team came into the tournament with only a single regular season loss, earning them the number one ranking in the country. In addition, the Final Four was played on the home court of the Longhorns. Despite that, and a crowd of over 15 thousand, the largest crowd in the history of the sport, the Louisiana Tech team managed to beat the Texas team 79–75. The Lady Techsters hit 58.3% of their field goals, the fourth best performance in NCAA Final Four history, and a blistering 73.9% in the second half, missing only six of the 23 shots taken in the second half. Texas tried to wear down Teresa Weatherspoon, but set an NCAA Final Four record with eleven assists, while putting in 19 points of her own.
The other semifinal game matched 2 seed Tennessee against 1 seed Long Beach State. Although Long Beach was averaging over 96 points per game, and had scored 102 in the West Regional Final against Ohio State, the Lady Vols held the team to 64 points, and upset the 1 seed by a score of 74–64.
The lone loss by Texas in the regular season had been to Tennessee, ending the Longhorns 40 game win streak, but the two teams played again two weeks later, and this time Texas emerged victorious, with a 14-point victory. Tennessee earned the number one ranking in the AP vote after the win over Texas, but they began to stumble after the loss to Texas, with losses to Auburn, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. They played Louisiana Tech in February, and the lady Techsters won by nine points, dropping the Lady Vols to ninth in the poll. The Tennessee team earned a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but after their upset win against Long Beach, they faced the Louisiana Tech team again, a team that had beaten the Volunteers in 11 of the last 12 meetings. One of those meetings had been the 1982 National Championship game, when the Lady Techsters beat the Volunteers by 23 points. The 1987 Championship would turn that result on its head, as Tennessee won by 23 points, upsetting Louisiana Tech 67–44, for their first National Championship.
Teresa Weatherspoon recorded 11 assists in the National Semifinal game, the most scored in a Final Four game since they started keeping records of this statistic in 1985.
Qualifying teams – automatic
|Bowling Green State University||MAC||27–2||16–0||9|
|Eastern Washington University||Mountain West||18–11||8–4||10|
|James Madison University||Colonial||26–3||12–0||4|
|University of Kansas||Big Eight||19–12||9–5||7|
|New Mexico State University||High Country||23–6||10–2||9|
|North Carolina State University||ACC||23–6||11–3||3|
|Northwestern State University||Great Midwest||14–9||9–1||10|
|Ohio State University||Big Ten||24–4||17–1||2|
|Old Dominion University||Sun Belt Conference||17–12||5–1||5|
|Rutgers University||Atlantic 10||28–2||17–1||2|
|University of Southern California||Pac-10||21–7||15–3||3|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Missouri Valley Conference||27–2||18–0||5|
|University of Southern Mississippi||Metro||21–8||6–6||10|
|Tennessee Technological University||Ohio Valley Conference||23–6||12–2||7|
|University of Texas at Austin||Southwest||28–1||16–0||1|
|Villanova University||Big East||27–3||15–1||6|
Qualifying teams – at-large
|Duke University||Atlantic Coast||18–9||7–7||7|
|University of Georgia||Southeastern||26–4||7–2||2|
|University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign||Big Ten||18–9||11–7||8|
|University of Iowa||Big Ten||24–4||17–1||3|
|Kansas State University||Big Eight||22–8||9–5||8|
|California State University, Long Beach||Pacific Coast||30–2||17–1||1|
|Louisiana State University||Southeastern||20–7||6–3||4|
|Louisiana Tech University||Independent||26–2||–-||1|
|University of Memphis||Metro||20–8||10–2||6|
|University of Mississippi||Southeastern||24–4||7–2||4|
|University of New Orleans||Independent||25–6||–-||6|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Atlantic Coast||19–9||9–5||4|
|Northwestern University||Big Ten||19–9||12–6||9|
|University of Oregon||Pacific-10||22–6||14–4||7|
|Pennsylvania State University||Atlantic 10||23–6||16–2||5|
|Saint Joseph's University||Atlantic 10||22–8||14–4||9|
|University of South Alabama||Sun Belt||24–5||5–1||8|
|University of Tennessee||Southeastern||23–6||6–3||2|
|University of Virginia||Atlantic Coast||25–4||12–2||3|
|University of Washington||Pacific-10||22–6||14–4||8|
|Western Kentucky University||Sun Belt||24–8||4–2||6|
Bids by conference
Nineteen conferences earned an automatic bid. In eleven cases, the automatic bid was the only representative from the conference. Nineteen at-large teams were selected from eight of the conferences. In addition, two independent (not associated with an athletic conference) teams earned at-large bids.
|6||Southeastern||Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt|
|4||Big Ten||Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Ohio St.|
|4||Atlantic Coast||Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Virginia|
|3||Sun Belt||Old Dominion, South Ala., Western Kentucky|
|3||Pacific-10||Oregon, Southern California, Washington|
|3||Atlantic 10||Penn St., Rutgers, St. Joseph's|
|2||Metro||Memphis, Southern Miss.|
|2||Independent||Louisiana Tech, New Orleans|
|2||Big Eight||Kansas, Kansas St.|
|1||Pacific Coast||Long Beach St.|
|1||Ohio Valley||Tennessee Tech|
|1||Mountain West||Eastern Washington|
|1||Missouri Valley||Southern Ill.|
|1||High Country||New Mexico St.|
|1||Gulf Star||Northwestern St.|
First and second rounds
In 1987, the field remained at 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:
- Eighth seeded South Alabama played nine seed Saint Joseph's (PA) at Saint Joseph's (PA)
- Seventh seeded Eastern Washington played tenth seeded University of Oregon at University of Oregon
- Second seeded Ohio State played tenth seeded University of Oregon at University of Oregon
- Third seeded North Carolina State played sixth seeded Villanova at Villanova
Because Oregon hosted both a first and second round game, there were only 23 first and second round locations, rather than 24.
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:
- Mideast Regional Stokely Athletics Center, Knoxville, Tennessee (Host: University of Tennessee)
- Midwest Regional Ewing Coliseum, Monroe, Louisiana (Host: University of Louisiana at Monroe)
- West Regional Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles (Host: University of Southern California)
- East Regional Cumberland County Memorial Arena, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Bids by state
|4||Louisiana||Northwestern St., LSU, Louisiana Tech, New Orleans|
|4||Tennessee||Tennessee Tech, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt|
|3||Illinois||Southern Ill., Illinois, Northwestern|
|3||North Carolina||North Carolina St., Duke, North Carolina|
|3||Pennsylvania||Villanova, Penn St., St. Joseph's|
|3||Virginia||James Madison, Old Dominion, Virginia|
|2||Alabama||Auburn, South Ala.|
|2||California||Southern California, Long Beach St.|
|2||Kansas||Kansas, Kansas St.|
|2||Mississippi||Southern Miss., Mississippi|
|2||Ohio||Bowling Green, Ohio St.|
|2||Washington||Eastern Washington, Washington|
|1||New Mexico||New Mexico St.|
First and second round games played at higher seed except where noted.
East Regional – Fayetteville, North Carolina (Cumberland County Memorial Arena)
|9||at St. Joseph's||67*|
|3||North Carolina State||60|
|3||North Carolina State||68|
Midwest Regional – Northeast Louisiana University – Monroe, Louisiana (Fant–Ewing Coliseum)
Mideast Regional – University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee (Stokely Athletic Center)
West Regional – University of Southern California – Los Angeles (Pauley Pavilion)
|9||New Mexico State||73|
|1||Long Beach State||72|
|1||Long Beach State||94|
|1||Long Beach State||102|
Final Four – University of Texas – Austin, Texas (Frank Erwin Center)
|1W||Long Beach State||64|
Record by conference
|Conference||# of Bids||Record||Win %||Round
- Gregory Cooper. "1987 NCAA National Championship Tournament". Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "CHN Basketball History: Most Outstanding Player". Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Attendance and Sites" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- HOWARD-COOPER, SCOTT (March 28, 1987). "Top-Ranked Longhorns Get Hook : Louisiana Tech Upsets Defending Champion Texas, 79-75". LA Times. Retrieved 24 Oct 2012.
- "Texas Upset, 79-75". New York Times. March 28, 1987. Retrieved 24 Oct 2012.
- "Tennessee Media Guide". Retrieved 24 Oct 2012.
- Diaz, Jaime. "1987: Finally First Prize At The Big Dance". Sports Illustrated. CNNSI. Retrieved 24 Oct 2012.
- Nixon, Rick. "Official 2022 NCAA Women's Final Four Records Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 22 April 2012.