The 1997 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament began on March 14, 1997, and concluded on March 30, 1997, when Tennessee won the national title. The Final Four was held at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on March 28–30, 1997. Tennessee, Old Dominion, Stanford, and Notre Dame qualified to the Final Four. Tennessee and Old Dominion won their semi-final Final Four matchups and continued on to the championship. Tennessee defeated Old Dominion 68-59 for their fifth national title.
Field goal percentage—Kristin Folkl, Stamford, hit all eight field goal attempts in the semi-final game against Old Dominion, setting the record for field goal percentage in a Final Four game.
Assists—Kellie Jolly, Tennessee, recorded eleven assists in the championship game against Old Dominion, setting the record for most assists in a Final Four game.
Field goal percentage—Tennessee hit 29 of 49 field goals attempts(59.2%) in the championship game against Old Dominion, setting the record for the field goal percentage in a Final Four game.
Sixty-four teams were selected to participate in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Thirty conferences were eligible for an automatic bid to the 1997 NCAA tournament.
Thirty-four additional teams were selected to complete the sixty-four invitations.
Thirty conferences earned an automatic bid. In eighteen cases, the automatic bid was the only representative from the conference. Thirty-four additional at-large teams were selected from twelve of the conferences.
In 1997, the field remained at 64 teams. The teams were seeded, and assigned to four geographic regions, with seeds 1-16 in each region. In Round 1, seeds 1 and 16 faced each other, as well as seeds 2 and 15, seeds 3 and 14, seeds 4 and 13, seeds 5 and 12, seeds 6 and 11, seeds 7 and 10, and seeds 8 and 9. In the first two rounds, the top four seeds were given the opportunity to host the first round game. In most cases, the higher seed accepted the opportunity. The exception:Fourth seeded Tulane was unable to host due to a "facility/hotel availability conflict", so fifth seeded George Washington hosted three first and second round games
The following table lists the region, host school, venue and the sixteen first and second round locations:
The Regionals, named for the general location, were held from March 22 to March 24 at these sites:East Regional Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, South Carolina (Host: University of South Carolina)
Mideast Regional Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana (Host: Purdue University)
Midwest Regional Carver–Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa (Host: University of Iowa)
West Regional Dahlberg Arena, Missoula, Montana (Host: University of Montana)
Each regional winner advanced to the Final Four held March 28 and March 30 in Cincinnati at the Riverfront Coliseum
The sixty-four teams came from thirty-two states, plus Washington, D.C. California had the most teams with five bids. Eighteen states did not have any teams receiving bids.
NOTE: George Washington was a host as a #5 seed, as #4 seed Tulane's facility was considered inadequate by the NCAA.
E-East; ME-Mideast; MW-Midwest; W-West.
Thirteen conferences had more than one bid, or at least one win in NCAA Tournament play:
Seventeen conferences went 0-1: America East, Big Sky Conference, Big South Conference, Big West Conference, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, Mid-Continent, MEAC, Midwestern Collegiate, Missouri Valley Conference, Northeast Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Patriot League, Southern Conference, SWAC, and Trans America Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
Kellie Jolly, Tennessee
Ticha Penicheiro, Old Dominion
Nyree Roberts, Old Dominion
Clarisse Machanguana, Old Dominion
Sally Bell (Semi-Final)
Carla Fujimoto (Semi-Final)
Ray Bomeli (Semi-Final)
John Morningstar (Semi-Final)
Scott Yarbrough (Semi-Final)
Judy Schneider (Semi-Final)
Yvette McKinney (Final)
Dee Kantner (Final)
Violet Palmer (Final)