The 2023 NCAA Women's March Madness comes to Columbus on March 18 & 20. The hometown Ohio State Buckeyes host the First and Second Rounds at The Schottenstein Center. Get to know the teams competing for a Sweet 16 berth. In 2027, Columbus hosts the Women's Final Four. Learn more about that event on our blog. Columbus is also hosting the Men's tournament at Nationwide Arena. Get details for that event here.
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes
- Conference: Big Ten
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Player to Watch: Cotie McMahon (#32). If you’re looking for exciting plays in March, B1G Freshman of the Year McMahon is who will give them. In her first college year, McMahon’s shown an ability to spin through defenses, hit acrobatic layups and run the court with relative ease. In the conference tournament, McMahon averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game, helping Ohio State overcome a 24-point deficit to the Indiana Hoosiers to make the conference final.
- Fast Facts: Ohio State began the season going 19-0 before running into a tough stretch of form against the Iowa Hawkeyes, Indiana Hoosiers and Maryland Terrapins. However, the Buckeyes have the ability to surprise teams in this edition of the NCAA Tournament, if they can keep their high intensity gameplay up for 40 minutes a game.
- Notable Alums: Katie Smith, Kelsey Mitchell and Jantel Lavender
No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels
- Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
- Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Player to Watch: Alyssa Ustby (#1). Ustby is a player that can do it all. The guard/forward combo almost averages a double-double with 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Helping that average are seven double-doubles across the season. Also, Ustby’s shooting efficiency will be tough for defenders, with the junior hitting 50.9% of her attempts, mostly inside the arc.
- Fast Facts: North Carolina drew into a part of the bracket featuring potential match-ups against two Big Ten teams: the Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes. A lot needs to happen for those games to be set up, but this year the Big Ten hasn’t been nice to the Tar Heels, losing to the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines.
- Notable Alums: Nikki Teasley, Latoya Pringle Sanders and Charlotte Smith
No. 11 St. Johns Red Storm
- Conference: Big East
- Location: New York, New York
- Player to Watch: Jillian Archer (#14). St. John’s is an experienced team, and part of that group of upperclassmen leaders is Archer. The 6’2” forward had five double-doubles for the Red Storm this season, averaging 7.7 rebounds per game. While the forward won’t score a lot, averaging 7.3 points per game, she’s dangerous inside the paint.
- Fast Facts: St. John’s bounced back from a two straight losing seasons to put themselves back up the Big East standings. Although the team hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2016, the Red Storm have a strong record when they make the tournament, winning six of 10 First Round games.
- Notable Alums: Alliyah Handford, Nadirah McKenith and Danaejah Grant
No. 11 Purdue Boilermakers
- Conference: Big Ten
- Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
- Player to Watch: Jeanae Terry (#10). Terry’s points won’t jump off the scoresheet, but the senior guard does it all. The transfer from Illinois averages 7.8 rebounds, 6.7 points and 6.4 assists per game. That puts Terry alongside Iowa superstar guard Caitlin Clark who also averages at least five across three offensive statistics. Terry is the leader of Purdue.
- Fast Facts: The Boilermakers are the last team to win the NCAA Tournament, on the women’s side, back in 1999. This year’s edition of the Boilermakers has shocked the conference more than once. Purdue beat ranked Ohio State and Illinois teams this season, plus a close Big Ten Tournament semifinal against the Iowa Hawkeyes, ultimately ending in defeat.
- Notable Alums: Katie Douglas, Nicki Collen and Katie Gearlds
No. 14 James Madison Dukes
- Conference: Sun Belt Conference
- Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia
- Player to Watch: Kiki Jefferson (#30). Jefferson is one watch. Jefferson leads JMU in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Jefferson is a 6’1” guard but plays like a forward.
- Fast Facts: James Madison University has history in the NCAA tournament, making it to four Sweet Sixteen rounds in the end of the 1980s. This year, the Dukes return for their first dance since the 2016 season. JMU got in through winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in their first postseason eligible season in the conference, after joining in 2022. The Dukes have two previous NCAA Tournament games against the Buckeyes, their 2023 opponent, losing in both match-ups.
- Notable Alums: Tamera Young, Kamiah Smalls and Jazmon Gwathmey
Columbus is hosting the 2027 Women's Final Four at Nationwide Arena. Learn more here.