The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament is an annual college basketball tournament for women. Held each March, the Women's Championship was inaugurated in the 1981–82 season. The NCAA tournament was preceded by the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament, which was held annually from 1972 to 1982. Basketball was one of 12 women's sports added to the NCAA championship program for the 1981–82 school year, as the NCAA engaged in battle with the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) for sole governance of women's collegiate sports. The AIAW continued to conduct its established championship program in the same 12 (and other) sports; however, after a year of dual women's championships, the NCAA prevailed, while the AIAW disbanded.

Attendance and interest in the Women's Division I Championship have grown over the years, especially from 2003 to 2016, when the final championship game was moved to the Tuesday following the Monday men's championship game. The women's championship game is the penultimate overall game of the college basketball season since 2017. From 1982 to 1990, 1996 to 2002, and since 2017 the Women's Final Four is usually played on the Friday before the Men's Final Four or the hours before the men played on the final Saturday of the tournament. The final was usually played the Sunday afternoon following the Men's Final Four; since 2017, Sunday evening.

The tournament bracket is made up of champions from each Division I conference, which receive automatic bids. The remaining slots are at-large bids, with teams chosen by an NCAA selection committee. The selection process and tournament seedings are based on several factors, including team rankings, win-loss records, and NET data.

Starting in 2022, the women's tournament will feature the same 68-team bracket as the men's tournament, with its own set of "play-in" games. This in turn means there are 36 at-large bids. From 2014 to 2021, the women's tournament featured 64 teams, with no "play-in" games. The women's tournament, like the men's, is staged in a single elimination format and is part of the media and public frenzy known colloquially as March Madness or The Big Dance.

Both 2020 men's and women's tournaments were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the entire tournament was played in Texas, with most games, including the Final Four, in San Antonio; some games were played in Austin and San Marcos.