The Phoenix women are headed to basketball’s Big Dance yet again, set to take on LSU in opening-round play Sunday, March 24, in Baton Rouge, La.
But according to another measure of March Madness, the team is already No. 1.
Inside Higher Ed on Tuesday (March 19) released the results of its second annual women’s Academic Performance Tournament, “where seeds are irrelevant and studies are paramount.” The 64-team, brains-based tourney allows teams to advance based on their multiyear Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA measure of their classroom performance, with the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate acting as the tie-breaking measure.
And after an Elite 8 finish last year, UW-Green Bay has won it all for 2013. The Phoenix bested DePaul by just one point, earning the title and some serious bragging rights for its academic prowess.
This isn’t the first time the Phoenix women (and the athletics program as a whole) have been recognized for putting the “student” in “student athlete.” The team finished the 2011-12 season with a collective GPA of 3.616 — the program’s highest ever — and earned the No. 1 spot on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll. At the time, the Phoenix women had achieved 31 consecutive semesters with a team GPA of greater than 3.0.
“As a team we stress the importance of our education and want to maintain a good reputation with the professors of the University,” senior Lydia Bauer said earlier this season. “The athletic department also provides wonderful resources for all the student-athletes to use in order to succeed.”
Click here for more details and a look at the complete championship bracket.