Five Pac-12 teams earn NCAA women's basketball tournament bids

Eric Evans/Nate Barrett

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Five Pac-12 women’s basketball teams earned bids to the 2014 Division I NCAA Tournament, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee announced today with the release of the 64-team field. ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, STANFORD and USC all begin their postseason runs this weekend, also marking the most NCAA Tournament teams for the Pac-12 since six league teams earned bids in 2006.

ARIZONA STATE earns the No. 9 seed and faces No. 8 Vanderbilt (18-12) in the first round in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday, March 22. The Sun Devils have seen a big improvement over last season, finishing in a tie for fourth in the Pac-12 with an 11-7 record, a six-win improvement over last year. It’s 22 wins so far this season are nine more than all of last year. ASU was picked to finish 10th by the coaches in the preseason. The winner of the ASU-Vanderbilt matchup will face the winner of the No. 1 Notre Dame (32-0)-No. 16 Robert Morris (21-11) matchup in the second round on Monday, March 24.

Placed in Notre Dame Regional, CALIFORNIA is making a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance after posting a 21-9 overall record and 13-5 in league play to tie for second. The Golden Bears are the No. 7 seed and will face 10th-seeded Fordham (25-7) in the first round in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, March 22. The other first-round matchup in Waco is No. 2-seeded Baylor (29-4) and No. 15-seeded Western Kentucky (24-8). Cal had its best-ever showing in the NCAA Tournament last year, advancing to the program’s first-ever NCAA Final Four.

Seeded No. 9 in the Stanford Regional, OREGON STATE is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995-96 and faces eighth-seeded Middle Tennessee State (29-4) to open its postseason run on Sunday, March 23. The Beavers are having their best season since 1982-83, posting the most wins since that season (23). OSU tied for second in the Conference standings with a school-record 13 league wins, its best showing since 1995-96, while also advancing to the Pac-12 Tournament title game for the first time in program history, as well. The winner of this first-round game in Stanford Regional will face the winner of the No. 1 South Carolina (27-4) vs. No. 16 CS-Northridge game on Tuesday, March 25.

Pac-12 regular-season champion STANFORD (29-3, 17-1) earns the No. 2 in its own region it will be hosting March 30 and April 1. The Cardinal travels to Ames, Iowa, to face 15th-seeded South Dakota (19-13) on Saturday, March 22. Stanford will look to get back to the NCAA Final Four after missing out last year for the first time in six years. Also heading to Ames for its first-round game is 10th-seeded Florida State (20-11) who will take on seventh-seeded and host Iowa State (20-10). The second-round matchup will be held on Monday, March 24.

Becoming the first team in league history to win four games in four days at the league tournament, USC won the Pac-12 Tournament title for the first time in team history. The Trojans finished in a tie for fourth in the Conference to earn the Pac-12’s automatic bid. It is the Trojans’ first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005-06 receiving the No. 9 seed in the Louisville Regional. The Trojans face No. 8-seed St. John’s (22-10) in the first round on Saturday, March 22. The winner will face the winner of the Tennessee (27-5)-Northwestern State (21-12) game. The Lady Vols are the No. 1 seed in the region and will host the first- and second-round games on Saturday and Monday, March 22 and 24.

The Pac-12 has had at least two teams in the NCAA Tournament every year of the event, which dates back to 1982, with four teams selected last year. The Conference has also had a representative in the NCAA Final Four the last six years. This year’s NCAA Final Four will be held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on April 6 and 8. Every round of the NCAA Tournament will be televised on the ESPN Network.

STANFORD REGIONAL
Sunday, March 23 • First Round (Seattle, Wash.)
#8 Middle Tennessee (29-4) vs. #9 OREGON STATE (23-10), 5 p.m PT/8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
 
Tuesday, March 25 • Second Round (Seattle, Wash.)
First round game winners, TBA
 
Saturday, March 22 • First Round (Ames, Iowa)
#2 STANFORD (29-3) vs. #15 South Dakota (19-13), approx. 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
 
Monday, March 24 • Second Round (Ames, Iowa)
First round game winners, TBA
 
NOTRE DAME REGIONAL
Saturday, March 22 • First Round (Toledo, Ohio)
#8 Vanderbilt (18-12) vs. #9 ARIZONA STATE (22-9), 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET 
 
Monday, March 24 • Second Round (Toledo, Ohio)
First round game winners, TBA
 
Saturday, March 22 • First Round (Waco, Texas)
#7 CALIFORNIA (21-9) vs. #10 Fordham (25-7), 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
 
Monday, March 24 • Second Round (Waco, Texas)
First round game winners, TBA
 
LOUISVILLE REGIONAL
Saturday, March 22 • First Round (Knoxville, Tenn.)
#8 St. John’s (22-10) vs. #9 USC (22-12), 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
 
Monday, March 24 • Second Round (Knoxville, Tenn.)
First round game winners, TBA
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