The NCAA Women’s Final Four is set, with all No. 1 seeds reaching the national semifinals at the Pepsi Center in Denver. On Sunday, April 1, Connecticut will take on Notre Dame at 6:30pm ET, followed by Stanford vs. Baylor at 8:30pm ET, both games on ESPN and ESPN3. The national championship game is Tuesday, April 3, at 8:30pm, also on ESPN/ESPN3. ESPNU and ESPN Classic also have additional programs surrounding the Women’s Final Four. Full press release and programming details from ESPN below:
2012 ESPN NCAA Women’s Final Four Fact Sheet – April 1 & 3
Technology Enhancements Added to Game Coverage
ESPN’s NCAA Women’s Final Four Coverage from Pepsi Center, Denver
National Semifinals – Sunday, April 1: No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. ET; No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 1 Baylor at 8:30 p.m.
National Championship – Tuesday, April 3: Winner of Semifinal Games at 8:30 p.m.
* – All three games will be simulcast on ESPN3/WatchESPN
Final Four Coverage Plans
- Several new technologies will be introduced to the women’s game during the Final Four:
- The on-court virtual shot clock – which was used for the first time this season during ESPN’s men’s basketball Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
- NAC High-Motion II Super-Slow Motion Camera that first came into the market during this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis; it utilizes three chip technology that produces great light sensitivity and flicker reduction and can be used to record exceptional slow motion replays
- As part of ESPN’s expanded access to the event, the lead referee will be wearing a microphone during all three games that will be incorporated in the telecasts
- Brenda VanLengen, ESPN play-by-play announcer, will operate an ART System (telestrator device) for the second consecutive year; it is also used on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and NBA telecasts
- 17th year of exclusive coverage on ESPN and 10th year covering all 63 games
- ESPN3 will continue its simulcast coverage of the postgame celebration, trophy presentation and the net cutting
- Pregame locker room access, in-game head coach interviews and halftime player interviews for the second straight season
- Conversation about women’s basketball through twitter via the #espnwbb hashtag:
- Select commentator Twitter handles will be featured during telecast
- Announcer and fan interaction
- Behind-the-scenes photos
- 21 game cameras, with the ability to have 23 different positions, plus four cameras focused on the in-arena set:
- Four point-of-view cameras – one in entry way to Pepsi Center and one in each of the three tunnels teams use to access the court
- Three robotic cameras – one overhead and two below the rim
- One radio frequency Steadi-Cam
- One JIB
- Two Super slo-mo’s – including the NAC High-Motion camera
- Special segments on all four Women’s Final Four teams will be aired throughout the weekend, plus features from ESPN’s three-month, companywide initiative recognizing the 40th anniversary of Title IX
- Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck will be positioned on a low-level set inside the Pepsi Center during ESPN’s studio coverage of the semifinals Sunday and the National Championship Tuesday
- Dave O’Brien will return for his third year at the Women’s Final Four as the play-by-play announcer and will be joined by seven-year Final Four veteran analyst Doris Burke
- Rebecca Lobo returns with added responsibilities – working as an on-court analyst reporting on special aspects of each game, conducting on-court interviews with players and coaches, and joining the studio coverage with Wingo, Lawson and Peck
- Holly Rowe is back for her seventh year as a sideline reporter and Bob Holtzman will provide updates for SportsCenter and ESPNEWS live from Denver throughout the weekend
ESPN Final Four Commentators
Trey Wingo (Seventh-year host): Wingo joined ESPN in 1997 as a news anchor and has become one of ESPN’s most versatile studio hosts who primarily works on NFL studio shows, while also covering events such as the NFL Draft and U.S. and British Open for golf. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN Radio programs and digital platforms. Wingo is a graduate of Baylor University.
Kara Lawson (Seventh-year analyst): Lawson is in her ninth year as an analyst for ESPN. She works men’s and women’s college basketball games and as a studio analyst. Lawson led Tennessee to three straight Final Fours and was a two-time All-American. She won a gold medal with the 2008 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team in Beijing and is in her ninth season with the WNBA – winning a league title in 2005 and currently playing for the Connecticut Sun.
Carolyn Peck (Fourth-year analyst): Peck originally joined ESPN in 2001 as a college and professional basketball analyst, including men’s and women’s college basketball, WNBA and NBA. She continues as a game analyst on men’s and women’s college hoops and the WNBA, as well as a studio analyst. Peck won the 1999 NCAA Championship title as the head coach at Purdue University – becoming the first African-American coach in women’s basketball to do so. She is also the former head coach at the University of Florida and the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle. Peck was a student-athlete at Vanderbilt University.
Doris Burke (Seventh-year game analyst): Burke began covering basketball for ESPN in 1991, and currently is an analyst on men’s and women’s games and the NBA, as well as a sideline reporter for select telecasts. Burke was a basketball player at Providence College.
Dave O’Brien (Third-year play-by-play): O’Brien joined ESPN in 2002 as a play-by-play announcer working Major League Baseball, college basketball and NBA telecasts. In 2010, O’Brien added the Women’s Final Four to his announcing responsibilities. He is also the radio play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox. A Boston native, O’Brien attended Syracuse University.
Rebecca Lobo (Fifth-year reporter): Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst and reporter. Lobo won an NCAA Championship in 1995 with the University of Connecticut where she was a National Player of the Year and an All-American. In addition, she won a gold medal with the 1996 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team during the Atlanta Olympics and played in the WNBA for seven seasons.
Holly Rowe (Seventh-year reporter): Rowe began working ESPN telecasts in 1995, and joined on a regular-basis in 1998. Rowe primarily covers college football, men’s basketball and softball as a reporter, as well as the NBA and WNBA. Rowe has also provided play-by-play commentary for women’s college basketball, softball and volleyball. Rowe is a graduate of the University of Utah.
Bob Holtzman: Holtzman joined ESPN in 2000 as a reporter, primarily handling stories featured in the network’s award-winning news and information franchise – SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Outside the Lines, Baseball Tonight, NBA shows, ESPNEWS and others. Holtzman graduated from Kansas University.
Women’s Final Four Specials
NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One: The 30-minute Women’s Final Four preview show hosted by Wingo, Lawson and Peck from the Pepsi Center in Denver will precede the national semifinals Sunday, April 1, at 6 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3.
Crunch Time: Women’s Tournament: The two-hour show will air Tuesday, April 3, at 2 p.m. on ESPNU and will revisit the last few minutes of the best and most exciting games of the NCAA Championship
The Experts: NCAA Women’s Championship Special: An hour-long round-table studio show Tuesday, April 3, at 5 p.m. on ESPNU, with Wingo, Lawson, Peck, Lobo and Burke. The all-star crew will discuss and debate the strengths and weaknesses of both teams playing for the title and give the viewer an inside track to victory, as well as examine the impact of Title IX on the women’s game.
College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special: The 90-minute special hosted by Cara Capuano, along with analysts Abby Waner and Brooke Weisbrod, on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU will highlight and preview the Women’s National Championship title game.
NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One: ESPN and ESPN3 will begin its National Championship game coverage with an hour-long preview special, also hosted by Wingo, Lawson and Peck, from the Pepsi Center Tuesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m.
NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four Schedule (subject to change)
|Sun, Apr 1||6 p.m.||NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One||ESPN / ESPN3|
|6:30 p.m.||National Semifinal:No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Notre Dame||ESPN / ESPN3|
|8:30 p.m.||National Semifinal:No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 1 Baylor||ESPN / ESPN3|
|Tue, Apr 3||3 p.m.||Crunch Time: Women’s Tournament||ESPNU|
|5 p.m.||The Experts: NCAA Women’s Tournament Special||ESPNU|
|6 p.m.||College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special||ESPNU|
|6 p.m.||College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special||ESPNU|
|7:30 p.m.||NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One||ESPN / ESPN3|
|8:30 p.m.||National Championship||ESPN / ESPN3|
SportsCenter and ESPNEWS will present in-depth coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four with on-site set presence featuring Wingo as the host and Lawson and Peck providing analysis. Holtzman will provide daily SportsCenter reports from the Pepsi Center starting Friday.
The two sites will continue to highlight stories surrounding the Final Four.
- In-depth and on-site coverage of each team, including features and video analysis from Kate Fagan, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel
- Final Four predictions leading into the weekend
- X’s and O’s previews and position-by-position breakdowns on all three games by Charlie Creme, who will also be providing instant analysis at halftime and at completion of all three games
- Women’s Final Four Live, a live chat throughout the semifinals and championship game, featuring tweets and analysis from ESPN’s analysts and espnW contributors
- Blogs from players still participating in the tournament will continue
- Coverage and analysis off of the U.S. Olympic team announcement Friday (SportsCenter, 6 p.m.)
ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge
Several statistics highlight ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge and the teams that advanced to the Final Four.
- An impressive 34.7 percent of Women’s Tournament Challenge brackets got all four Women’s Final Four teams correct, and in fact, each of the No. 1 seeds were picked to reach the Final Four in at least 63.5 percent of brackets
- Another 33.1 percent of brackets got three of four teams in the Women’s Final Four
- Percent of brackets picking the national champion:
- Baylor: 55.2 percent
- Connecticut: 12.6 percent
- Notre Dame: 8.2 percent
- Stanford: 8.0 percent
- Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the National Title Game:
- Baylor: 70.1 percent
- Connecticut: 42.9 percent
- Notre Dame: 32.7 percent
- Stanford: 13.4 percent
- Percent of brackets picking each potential National Title Game scenario:
- Baylor-Connecticut: 31.7 percent
- Baylor-Notre Dame: 24.4 percent
- Stanford-Connecticut: 5.4 percent
- Stanford-Notre Dame: 4.6 percent
- President Obama’s bracket currently sits in the 41.9 percentile in the game, although he still has his title game finalists (Baylor, Notre Dame) and his national champion (Baylor) still intact
ESPN3 & WatchESPN
ESPN3 continues its coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One heading into the Final Four and up to the NCAA National Championship game on Tuesday, April 3. The live multi-screen sports network is carrying all 63 games in the tournament online at WatchESPN.com to fans of an affiliated provider. Additionally, fans who are video subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV are also able to catch the live action on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
Additionally, fans will be able to catch the action directly through Facebook via a syndicated ESPN3 player on the ESPN3 Facebook page and pages from select schools in the bracket. Replays of recently concluded events will be available as well. In order to access the content, Facebook users must receive ESPN3 through an affiliated provider.
ESPN Radio will provide live score updates on its SportsCenter reports and present interviews with potential newsmakers.
ESPN International networks will provide live coverage of the national semifinals along with the title game to fans on ESPN PacRim, ESPN Middle East, ESPN Israel, ESPN Africa, ESPN Latin North, ESPN Caribbean, ESPN Brazil HD and ESPN America. The title game will also air next day on ESPN Latin South, ESPN-2 Caribbean and ESPN J-Sports.
ESPN Front Row will once again provide behind-the-scenes features centered on ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Final Four. Coverage will be highlighted by a unique look at the preparation and rapport of the crew (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke and Holly Rowe, who were at the Kingston Regional) that will call the Final Four games.
ESPN Classic will feature a marathon of games featuring past champions, including matchups between Connecticut and Tennessee.
ESPN Classic NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Schedule
|Mon, Apr 2||Midnight||2010 NCAA National Championship: Stanford vs. Connecticut|
|2 a.m.||1997 NCAA National Championship: Old Dominion vs. Tennessee|
|4 a.m.||1998 NCAA National Championship: Tennessee vs. Louisiana Tech|
|Tue, Apr 3||12:30 a.m.||2007 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Rutgers vs. Tennessee|
|2:30 a.m.||2002 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Oklahoma vs. Connecticut|
|9 a.m.||2000 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Connecticut vs. Tennessee|
|11 a.m.||2006 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Maryland vs. Duke|
|1 p.m.||2004 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Connecticut vs. Tennessee|
|3 p.m.||2011 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M|
|5 p.m.||2007 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Rutgers vs. Tennessee|