The first official NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship was held in 1982. Louisiana Tech's team won the championship game 76-62 against Cheyney State, becoming the first NCAA Division I women's basketball champions.

The inaugural tournament featured 32 entrant teams, which were narrowed down to a Final Four that included the University of Tennessee and the University of Maryland in addition to Louisiana Tech and Cheyney. The women's championship has taken place every year since 1982, with the University of Connecticut winning more titles than any other school as of 2015.