Four women's teams earn NCAA bids

By Pac-12 Conference

NCAA Tournament Bracket (PDF)

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Four Pac-12 women's basketball teams earned bids to the 2012 Division I NCAA Tournament, the NCAA Women's Basketball Committee announced today with the release of the 64-team field. CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, STANFORD and UCLA all begin their postseason runs this weekend. It is the first time since 2007 that four league teams have been selected. All games will be televised on the ESPN Networks.

Earning its highest seed in the history of the program, second-seeded CALIFORNIA faces No. 15 Fresno State (24-8) in Lubbock, Texas on Saturday, March 23. The Golden Bears captured a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title, the team's first-ever, winning a program-record 17 games. Second-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb has led Cal to 27 overall wins, which are also a team record. It is the second-straight year Cal is playing in the NCAA Tournament and sixth time in eight years. Playing in the Spokane Regional, the winner of the Cal-Fresno matchup will face the winner of the No. 7 seed Texas Tech (21-10) vs. No. 10 seed South Florida (21-10) first-round matchup.

Under the direction of third-year head coach Linda Lappe, COLORADO makes its first appearance in the tournament since 2004. The No. 5 seed in the Norfolk Regional, the Buffs finished fourth in the Pac-12 after posting a 13-5 Conference record and advancing to the semifinals of the league tournament. The Buffs are 25-6 heading into the NCAA Tournament, the most team wins since the 1995-96 season. The Buffs play host to the first and second rounds, and open tournament action against 12th-seeded Kansas (18-13) on Saturday, March 23. It will also host South Carolina (24-7) and South Dakota State (25-7), with the winners of both games moving on to the second round on Monday, March 25.

Playing in the Spokane Regional, STANFORD (31-2) earns a No. 1 seed for the 10th time in the history of the program. The Cardinal claimed its seventh-straight Pac-12 Tournament title and won a share of the regular-season title. It will remain at home for its first-round game, hosting Conference-USA Champion and No. 16 seed Tulsa (16-16). Led by Hall of Fame head coach and 13-time John R. Wooden Pac-12 Coach of the Year Tara VanDerveer, Stanford looks to continue a streak of five-consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances. The Cardinal will also host the first-round matchup between No. 8 seed Michigan (21-10) and No. 9 seed Villanova (21-10). First-round matchups at Maples Pavilion take place on Sunday, March 24.

Seeded No. 3 in the Oklahoma City Regional, UCLA makes its first trip to the NCAA Tournament under second-year head coach Cori Close, and the program's third trip in four years. After being struck with numerous key injuries during the 2011-12 campaign, the Bruins bounced back to post a 14-4 record in Conference play and finished third in the standings, while winning 25 overall games. It is the third time in four seasons UCLA has won at least 25 games. The Bruins travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on fourth-seeded Stetson (24-8) on Saturday, March 23. The winner of that game takes on the winner of the No. 6 Oklahoma (22-10)-No. 11 Central Michigan (21-11) matchup.

The Pac-12 has had at least two teams in the NCAA Tournament every year since the first year of the event in 1982. The NCAA Final Four will be held at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La., April 7 and 9.

SPOKANE REGIONAL
Saturday, March 23 • First Round (Lubbock, Texas)

#2 CALIFORNIA (28-3) vs. #15 Fresno State (24-8), 1 p.m PT/4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#7 Texas Tech (21-10) vs. #15 South Florida (21-10), approx. 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, March 25 • Second Round (Lubbock, Texas)
First round game winners, 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET

SPOKANE REGIONAL
Sunday, March 24 • First Round (Stanford, Calif.)

#1 STANFORD (31-2) vs. #16 Tulsa (16-16), 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#8 Michigan (21-10) vs. #9 Villanova (21-10), approx. 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tuesday, March 26 • Second Round (Stanford, Calif.)
First round game winners, 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET

NORFOLK REGIONAL
Saturday, March 23 • First Round (Boulder, Colo.)
#4 South Carolina (24-7) vs. #13 South Dakota State (25-7), approx. 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#5 COLORADO (25-6) vs. #12 Kansas (18-13), 3:30 p.m PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, March 25 • Second Round (Boulder, Colo.)
First round game winners, 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET

OKLAHOMA CITY REGIONAL
Saturday, March 23 • First Round (Columbus, Ohio)

#6 Oklahoma (22-10) vs. #11 Central Michigan (21-11), 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET (ESPN2)
#3 UCLA (25-7) vs. #14 Stetson (24-8), approx. 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 a.m. PT (ESPN2)

Monday, March 25 • Second Round (Columbus, Ohio)
First round game winners, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET
 

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