1988 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament
The 1988 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament began on March 16 and ended on April 3. The tournament featured 40 teams. The Final Four consisted of Long Beach State, Auburn, Tennessee, and Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech won its second title with a 56-54 victory over Auburn. Louisiana Tech's Erica Westbrooks was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
|1988 NCAA Division I|
Women's Basketball Tournament
|Finals site||Tacoma Dome|
|Champions||Louisiana Tech Techsters (2nd title)|
|Runner-up||Auburn Tigers (1st title game)|
|MOP||Erica Westbrooks (Louisiana Tech)|
Long Beach state reached the Final Four averaging over 100 points per game. Long Beach beat Colorado 103–64 in their opening game. Long Beach then defeated the three seed Washington 104–78 in the West Regional semifinal. That matched Long Beach up with the one seed Iowa. Long Beach didn't score 100, but came close, beating the top seed in their regional by a score of 98–78, allowing Long Beach to reach the Final Four for the second straight year. Their opponent in the semifinal was Auburn, who had reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1985 and 1986, then followed it with a trip to the Elite Eight in 1987. This year Auburn advanced to the Final Four for the first time defeating Maryland in the Mideast Regional 103–74.
In the semifinal game, the Long Beach 49ers team started out slowly, but their coach Joan Bonvicini wasn't worried; she was convinced they would come back. Auburn had a small lead in the second half when the 49ers scored 11 consecutive points to take a 46–42 lead. However, the Tigers tied the game at 46 apiece, then 48 then 50 apiece. Then the Tigers opened up a seven-point lead. The 49ers cut it back to five points, but too many turnovers were too much to overcome. Ruthie Bolton scored eleven points in the final six minutes for the Tigers to help seal the 68–55 victory, and the right to play for the national championship.
The other semifinal game matched up Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. Tennessee was the defending national champion, having won their first national championship in 1987. They won the East Regional with a win over the two seed Virginia. Their opponent, Louisiana Tech, had won the first NCAA Tournament in 1982, and had finished as runner up to Tennessee in the previous year's championship game. The two teams met in the regular season, with Tennessee winning 76–74 in an overtime game played in Knoxville. The Lady Techsters were a two seed, but upset top ranked Texas 83–80 in the Midwest Regional to make it to the semifinal game. The Lady Techsters said they had been looking forward to this game ever since their loss in the prior year and they played like it. They took the lead early in the game and never relinquished it. Louisiana Tech held Tennessee to 33% shooting in the first half, and held on to win the game 68–59, and a berth in the championship game.
The first half of the championship game was all Auburn. Two minutes went by before the Lady Techsters even took at shot, at which point they were down 6–0. Ruthie Bolton scored 16 points in the first half, a source of frustration for her defender Teresa Weatherspoon. Bolton's points held the Tigers head to halftime with a 31–19 lead. Weatherspoon made sure the second half was different, both offensively, with seven assists and defensively, holding Bolton to zero points and helping to force six turnovers. The Tigers still led by four points with under five minutes left, but behind Weatherspoon's defense, and Erica Westbrooks' 25 points, Louisiana Tech came back to win their second national Championship by a score of 56–54.
Ruthie Bolton was credited with ten steals in the National Semifinal game, the most ever recorded in a Final Four game since the statistic has been recorded (starting in 1988).
Qualifying teams - automatic
|Qualifying School||Conference||Regular Season||Conference||Seed|
|Bowling Green State University||MAC||24–5||14–2||10|
|Eastern Illinois University||Missouri Valley Conference||22–7||14–4||10|
|University of Iowa||Big Ten||27–1||17–1||1|
|James Madison University||Colonial||26–3||12–0||4|
|University of Kansas||Big Eight||21–9||8–6||7|
|California State University, Long Beach||Big West Conference||25–5||18–0||2|
|University of Maryland||ACC||24–5||12–2||2|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Ohio Valley Conference||22–7||12–2||10|
|University of Montana||Mountain West||28–1||16–0||4|
|New Mexico State University||High Country||26–2||10–0||6|
|Rutgers University||Atlantic 10||26–4||17–1||3|
|University of South Carolina||Metro||22–10||10–2||8|
|St. John's University||Big East||21–9||10–6||7|
|University of Tennessee||SEC||28–2||8–1||1|
|University of Texas at Austin||Southwest||30–2||16–0||1|
|University of Washington||Pac-10||24–4||16–2||3|
|Western Kentucky University||Sun Belt Conference||26–7||4–2||5|
Qualifying teams - at-large
|Qualifying School||Conference||Regular Season||Conference||Seed|
|University of Alabama||Southeastern||18–9||5–4||9|
|Clemson University||Atlantic Coast||21–8||8–6||5|
|University of Colorado at Boulder||Big Eight||20–10||8–6||7|
|University of Georgia||Southeastern||20–9||5–4||4|
|University of Houston||Southwest||22–6||11–5||6|
|La Salle University||Metro Atlantic||25–4||11–1||8|
|Louisiana Tech University||American South||27–2||9–0||2|
|Louisiana State University||Southeastern||18–10||6–3||9|
|University of Mississippi||Southeastern||23–6||5–4||3|
|University of Nebraska–Lincoln||Big Eight||22–6||11–3||5|
|Ohio State University||Big Ten||24–4||16–2||3|
|Old Dominion University||Sun Belt||17–11||6–0||6|
|Pennsylvania State University||Atlantic 10||19–12||11–7||9|
|University of Southern California||Pacific-10||21–7||15–3||4|
|Saint Joseph's University||Atlantic 10||23–7||16–2||7|
|Stephen F. Austin State University||Southland||28–4||13–1||8|
|Syracuse University||Big East||22–8||13–3||6|
|Villanova University||Big East||20–8||11–5||8|
|University of Virginia||Atlantic Coast||25–4||12–2||2|
|Wake Forest University||Atlantic Coast||22–7||9–5||9|
Bids by conference
Eighteen conferences earned an automatic bid. In eight cases, the automatic bid was the only representative from the conference. Two conferences, Southland and American South sent a single representative as an at-large team. Twenty additional at-large teams were selected from ten of the conferences.
|6||Southeastern||Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Tennessee|
|4||Atlantic Coast||Clemson, Maryland., Virginia, Wake Forest|
|3||Pacific-10||Southern California, Stanford, Washington|
|3||Big Eight||Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska|
|3||Big East||St. John’s NY, Syracuse, Villanova|
|3||Atlantic 10||Penn St., Rutgers, St. Joseph’s|
|2||Sun Belt||Old Dominion, Western Ky.|
|2||Metro Atlantic||Fairfield, La Salle|
|2||Big Ten||Iowa, Ohio St.|
|1||Southland||Stephen F. Austin|
|1||Ohio Valley||Middle Tenn.|
|1||Missouri Valley||Eastern Ill.|
|1||High Country||New Mexico St.|
|1||Big West||Long Beach St.|
|1||American South||Louisiana Tech|
First and second rounds
In 1988, 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 exception:
- Seventh seeded Colorado played tenth seeded Eastern Illinois at Eastern Illinois
The following table lists the region, host school, venue and the twenty-four first and second round locations:
Regionals and Final Four
The Regionals, named for the general location, were held from March 24 to March 26 at these sites:
- Mideast Regional Georgia Coliseum (Stegeman Coliseum), Athens, Georgia (Host: University of Georgia)
- Midwest Regional Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas (Host: University of Texas)
- West Regional University Gym (Gold Mine), Long Beach, California (Host: Long Beach State)
- East Regional Old Dominion University Fieldhouse, Norfolk, Virginia (Host: Old Dominion University)
Bids by state
|4||Pennsylvania||La Salle, Penn St., St. Joseph’s, Villanova|
|3||California||Long Beach St., Southern California, Stanford|
|3||Texas||Texas, Houston, Stephen F. Austin|
|3||Virginia||James Madison, Old Dominion, Virginia|
|2||Louisiana||Louisiana Tech, LSU|
|2||New York||St. John’s NY, Syracuse|
|2||Ohio||Bowling Green, Ohio St.|
|2||South Carolina||South Carolina, Clemson|
|2||Tennessee||Middle Tenn., Tennessee|
|1||New Mexico||New Mexico St.|
|1||North Carolina||Wake Forest|
First and second round games played at higher seed except where noted.
West Regional - Long Beach, CA (Long Beach Arena)
|8||Stephen F. Austin||84|
|8||Stephen F. Austin||65|
|2||Long Beach St.||98|
|10||at Eastern Illinois||72|
|2||Long Beach St.||103|
|2||Long Beach St.||104|
|6||New Mexico St.||74|
Mideast Regional - Athens, GA (Stegeman Coliseum)
East Regional - Norfolk, VA (Old Dominion University Fieldhouse)
|7||St. John's (NY)||83|
|7||St. John's (NY)||64|
Midwest Regional - Austin, TX (Frank Erwin Center)
|10||Middle Tennessee St.||75|
Record by conference
|Conference||# of Bids||Record||Win %||Round
- Gregory Cooper. "1988 NCAA National Championship Tournament". Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- "CHN Basketball History: Most Outstanding Player". Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- CART, JULIE (April 2, 1988). "NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR : CS Long Beach Makes Run for It, Then Gives It Away in 68-55 Loss". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- Young, Linda (April 3, 1988). "Sisters Lead Auburn's Title Quest". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- KELLOGG, RICK (April 2, 1988). "LOUISIANA TECH TO PLAY AUBURN FINAL". New York Times. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- Greenberg, Mel (April 3, 1988). "Auburn Eyes First Ncaa Crown In Title Game Vs. Louisiana Tech". Philly.com. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- Cour, Jim (Mar 24, 1988). "Auburn to represent SEC in Title game". Kentucky New Era. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- Young, Linda (April 2, 1988). "Tennessee Women Fall To La. Tech". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- KELLOGG, RICK (April 4, 1988). "Women's N.C.A.A.; La. Tech Rallies to Win Title". New York Times. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- Hersch, Hank (April 11, 1988). "Lady Tiger Tamers". CNNSI. Retrieved 4 Nov 2012.
- "Attendance and Sites" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- Nixon, Rick. "Official 2022 NCAA Women's Final Four Records Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 22 April 2012.