Women’s NCAA Tournament Cinderellas: Where Do They Come From?

Women’s NCAA Tournament Cinderellas: Where Do They Come From?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is right around the corner, and customers at top US betting sites should be on upset alert as much as top-seeded teams.

With favorites such as South Carolina, Connecticut and Iowa, deep tournament runs are the expected norm. Indeed, in the past 10 NCAA tourneys for women, the No. 1 seed has won its region 25 of a possible 40 times. And No. 2 seeds have reached the Final Four nine times in that span.

But upsets still abound in the earlier rounds and that’s our focus here. Since 2000, there have been 22 teams seeded No. 10 or lower to reach the Sweet 16 in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. That includes two No. 13 seeds and three teams emerging from the No. 12 seed line.

Here is a look at those teams as part of our coverage of legal online sports betting. The most recent teams to emerge as Sweet 16 Cinderellas were two No. 10 seeds, Creighton and South Dakota, in 2022.

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Double-Digit Sweet 16 Seeds Since 2000

Seed, SchoolYear State
11 UAB 2000 Alabama
10 Missouri 2001 Missouri
11 BYU 2002 Utah
11 Notre Dame 2003 Indiana
11 Cal Santa Barbara 2004 California
13 Liberty 2005 Virginia
13 Marist 2007 New York
10 Florida State 2007 Florida
11 San Diego State 2010 California
11 Gonzaga 2011 Washington
11 Kansas 2012 Kansas
11 Gonzaga 2012 Washington
12 Kansas 2013 Kansas
12 BYU 2014 Utah
11 Gonzaga 2015 Washington
10 Oregon 2017 Oregon
12 Quinnipiac 2017 Connecticut
11 Buffalo 2018 New York
11 Central Michigan 2018 Michigan
11 Missouri State 2019 Missouri
10 Creighton 2022 Nebraska
10 South Dakota 2022 South Dakota

Which State Produces Most Cinderellas?

The state of Washington gave us the most thrilling women’s upsets in the past two-plus decades, with three – all of them by the same school. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if US sports betting apps users can pick out any trends for their wagers in 2024.

As it was just starting to emerge as a perennial top-25 women’s program in the 2010s, Gonzaga kept surprising people during March Madness. In 2011 Gonzaga was a No. 11 seed and defeated sixth-seeded Iowa, No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Louisville to reach the Elite Eight, where the Zags fell to top seed Stanford in the region final.

Gonzaga was seeded 11th again the following year and repeated its upset feat, knocking off No. 6 seed Rutgers and No. 3 Miami (Florida) before losing to No. 2 Kentucky in the Sweet 16. And 11 was the magic seeding number for the Bulldogs again in 2015, when they knocked out No. 6 seed George Washington and No. 3 Oregon State before losing to No. 2 Tennessee in the region semifinals.

This year, Gonzaga enters the women’s tourney at +20000 odds to win it all with Caesars Sportsbook. The team looks to get back on track after a loss to Portland in the West Coast Conference tournament final snapped the Bulldogs’ 24-game winning streak.

States With Most Sweet 16 Double-Digit Seeds

State Double-Digit Seeds In Sweet 16
Washington 3
California 2
Kansas 2
Missouri 2
New York 2
Utah 2

California, Utah, Kansas, New York and Missouri have each provided two double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16 since 2000. Like Gonzaga, the Kansas Jayhawks pulled off the feat in consecutive years, winning two NCAA Tournament games in 2012 as a No. 11 seed, then reaching the same stage in 2013 as a 12th seed.

This year, the women’s Final Four is at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, providing Ohio sports betting customers a chance to witness the action in person and see how their wagers fare.

2024 Women’s NCAA Tournament Odds

As for this year’s 68-team tournament field, it would seem to be South Carolina’s title to lose. The Gamecocks are the only undefeated team in the country, men’s or women’s, as coach Dawn Staley’s team carries a 32-0 record into March Madness.

South Carolina only had six games decided by single digits this season, with the biggest threat coming in the SEC tournament semifinals. Kamilla Cardoso’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Gamecocks a 74-73 victory over Tennessee on March 9, keeping the unbeaten season alive and setting up South Carolina’s testy 79-72 win over LSU in the conference final a day later.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, South Carolina is a -115 favorite to win the NCAA Division I championship for the third time, joining the 2017 and 2022 teams. Caesars offers the entire rest of the field at +105 odds compared to South Carolina at -135.



Jim Tomlin is a writer and editor for USBettingReport.com. He has been a journalist for 30 years, with experience at publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, Saturday Tradition, Saturday Down South and FanRag.