The NCAA Women’s Tournament bracket is set, and with it comes the conversations about likely Cinderella teams and bracket busters. 

From Creighton upsetting Iowa, to Princeton, Villanova and Florida Gulf Coast ruining brackets across the country last year, the tournament is guaranteed to have surprises. Of the 68 teams that heard their names called on Selection Sunday, these four have the greatest potential to bust some brackets.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame features on this list for the fact that they could bust some brackets simply by losing early. While they’ve dominated at times this season, the Fighting Irish fell in their second ACC tournament game to Louisville 64-38 without star sophomore Olivia Miles. 

Miles is a question mark for the tournament, as she remains out indefinitely with a knee injury. Without their starting point guard, the Fighting Irish could find themselves fighting hard just to remain in the field.


UNLV won the Mountain West tournament championship to help secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. But their 31-2 record would have had them in the tournament anyway. After losing in the first round of last year’s tournament to No. 4 seed Arizona, this year’s team is riding a 22-game winning streak into March Madness and has strong upset potential.

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Iowa State

Propelled by star guard Ashley Joens, Iowa State took down No. 1 seed Texas in the Big 12 tournament final to secure their automatic bid and win their first Big 12 tournament title since 2001. The Cyclones enter the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak, having won 10 of their last 11 games, including over No. 14 Oklahoma and No. 15 Texas in the regular season.


Winners of the Ivy League tournament, Princeton is a dark horse heading into the tournament. They nearly beat No. 2 seed UConn on Dec. 8, losing by just five points. And while that UConn team was significantly depleted by injuries to its starting lineup, the Tigers kept it close thanks to three players finishing in double-digit scoring.

UNLV women’s basketball bowed out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. This time around, the Runnin’ Rebels are aiming higher, star Desi-Rae Young said.

Young helped UNLV to a Mountain West tournament championship Wednesday and to a 31-2 record so far this season. If the No. 21 Rebels hadn’t secured the automatic bid with the tournament title, they would have been shoo-ins for an at-large berth.

And wherever they end up on Selection Sunday, they’re ready to wreak havoc as aspiring bracket busters.

“We want to go farther than last year,” Young told KTNV ahead of the Mountain West championship game.

UNLV looked solid in a 71-60 win against Wyoming (22-10) to clinch their second consecutive title, and Young won the tournament MVP award with 28 points and 17 rebounds.

“I’m just so incredibly proud of our team for doing whatever it takes,” coach Lindy La Rocque said. “They had a look in their eyes this morning, and I knew we were going to come away with this one.”

Now, the Rebels must ready themselves for March Madness.

Last season, as a No. 13 seed, UNLV fell in the first round to No. 4 seed Arizona. This season, Just Women’s Sports writer Eden Laase has the team pegged as a No. 12 seed with strong upset potential.

The Rebels will roll into this year’s NCAA Tournament with a 22-game winning streak and with a new swagger.

“We’re coming in with an aggression we didn’t have much last year,” Young said. “We want it this year.”

The team will also have the Las Vegas Aces in its corner as it heads into the tournament. Aces guard and 2022 WNBA Most Improved Player Jackie Young cheered on the Rebels during the Mountain West title game Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus.