Pac-12 Women’s Basketball earns a record seven NCAA Tournament bids

SAN FRANCISCO A league-record seven Pac-12 teams earned bids to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Selection Committee announced today with the release of the 64-team field. It marks the fourth-consecutive year the Pac-12 has been awarded at least five bids.

This year’s selection announcement is on the heels of a historic NCAA Tournament run in 2016 for the Pac-12 where two league teams - OREGON STATE and WASHINGTON - advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the first time. It was also the first time the Conference had three teams in the Elite Eight and four teams in the Sweet Sixteen. All five teams also won their first-round games.

Pac-12 teams look to build on that success with its seven selections this season, the most since earning six in 2006. Boasting the No. 1 Conference RPI in the country for most of the season for the second year in a row, regular-season champion Oregon State and Pac-12 Tournament Champion STANFORD each earned a No. 2 seed in the tournament. It is the second-consecutive year the Conference has had two No. 2 seeds.

Playing in the Stockton Regional, the Beavs (29-4) are one win shy of a second-straight 30-win season, which would make it the first time the team has posted back-to-back 30-win campaigns. Ranked No. 8 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA Coaches polls, it is the third-straight year OSU is in the Big Dance and ninth time overall, reaching the program’s first Final Four last season. Led by four-time All-Pac-12 honoree Sydney Wiese, the Beavs host 15th-seeded Long Beach State (23-10), winner of the Big West Tournament, on Friday, March 17. The winner of that game moves on to the second round in Corvallis on Sunday, March 19, to face No. 7-seeded Creighton (23-7) or No. 10-seeded Toledo (25-8).

No. 6/6 Stanford (28-5) was unable to host the first- and second-rounds despite a top-16 seeding due to facilities conflict. Hall of Fame coach and 1,000-career winner Tara VanDerveer takes her Cardinal to Manhattan, Kansas, to open its postseason action against 15th-seeded New Mexico State (24-6), the WAC Champion, on Saturday, March 18. Host 7th-seeded Kansas State (22-10) plays 10th-seeded Drake (28-4) in the first round, and the winner of both games face each other in the second round on Monday, March 20. In the Oklahoma City Regional, the Cardinal are making its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance and 30th in a row. 

Making its third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Washington is the No. 3 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional, and hosts the first and second rounds in Seattle. Boasting the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader and the ESPNW National Player of the Year Kelsey Plum, it is the No. 12/11 Huskies’ highest seeding since earning a No. 3 seed in 1995. UW takes on No. 14-seeded Montana State (25-6) in the first round on Saturday, March 18, looking to claim a spot in the second round on Monday, March 20 where they face the winner of the No. 6-seeded Oklahoma (22-9) and No. 11-seeded Gonzaga (26-6). 

No. 4-seeded UCLA in the Bridgeport Regional hosts No. 13-seed Boise State (25-7), the Mountain West Champions. It is the fourth time in seven years the Bruins earn a top-five seeding. Ranked No. 15/14 in the country, the Bruins also host the first-round game between fifth-seeded Texas A&M (21-11) and No. 12-seed Pennsylvania (22-7) on Saturday, March 18. The second round takes place on Monday, March 20. It is the 14th overall invitation to the NCAA Tournament for the program and the third under current head coach Cori Close.

ARIZONA STATE (19-12) is making its fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after earning the No. 8 seed in the Stockton Regional. With seniors Sophie Brunner and Quinn Dornstauder leading the team, the Sun Devils play their first-round game in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, March 17, against No. 9 seeded Michigan State (21-11). The other game features host and top-seeded South Carolina (27-4) versus No. 16  UNC Asheville (19-14), with the second-round clash scheduled for Sunday, March 19. ASU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 15 times in the history of the program.

Tenth-seeded OREGON (20-13) earns its first NCAA Tournament invitation in 12 years, last appearing in the Big Dance in 2005. Led by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and ESPNW National Freshman of the Year Sabrina Ionescu, UO travels to Durham, N.C., for the first round of the Bridgeport regional on Saturday, March 18, to face seventh-seeded Temple (24-7) to open its postseason run. The winner faces the winner of the No. 2-seeded Duke (27-5) vs. No. 15 seeded Hampton (20-12) game on Monday, March 20.

CALIFORNIA (19-13) makes a return to the NCAA Tournament after missing out on the event last season for the first time in head coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s tenure in Berkeley. The Bears earned the No. 9 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional and travels to Waco, Texas, to take on ninth-seeded LSU (20-11) in the first round on Saturday, March 18. Whichever teams wins that game, takes on host and top-seeded Baylor (30-3) or 16th-seeded and SWAC Champion Texas Southern (23-9). It is Cal’s 12th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Pac-12 has had at least two teams in the NCAA Tournament every year of the event, dating back to 1982. This year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held at American Airlines Center in Dallas, March 31 and April 2. Every round of the NCAA Tournament will be televised on the ESPN Network. For more information on the tournament, visit ncaa.com. For ticket information and game times, visit the NCAA’s website or a participating team’s website.

BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL
Saturday, March 18 • First Round (Los Angeles)
#4 UCLA (23-8) vs. #13 Boise State (25-7), 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#5 Texas A&M (21-11) vs. #12 Pennsylvania (22-7), 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, March 20 • Second Round (Los Angeles)
First round game winners, TBA

Saturday, March 18 • First Round (Durham, N.C.)
#7 Temple (24-7) vs. #10 OREGON (20-13), 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#2 Duke (27-5) vs. #15 Hampton (20-12), 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET 

Monday, March 20 • Second Round (Durham, N.C.)
First round game winners, TBA

OKLAHOMA CITY REGIONAL
Saturday, March 18 • First Round (Waco, Texas)
#1 Baylor (30-3) vs. #16 Texas Southern (23-9), 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#8 LSU (20-11) vs. #9 CALIFORNIA (19-13), 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m PT (ESPN2)

Monday, March 20 • Second Round (Waco, Texas)
First round game winners, TBA

Saturday, March 18 • First Round (Seattle)
#6 Oklahoma (22-9) vs. #11 Gonzaga (26-6), 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#3 WASHINGTON (27-5) vs. #14 Montana State (25-6), 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, March 20 • Second Round (Seattle)
First round game winners, TBA

STOCKTON REGIONAL
Friday, March 17 • First Round (Columbia, S.C.)
#8 ARIZONA STATE (19-12) vs. #9 Michigan State (21-11), 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#1 South Carolina (27-4) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (19-14), 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sunday, March 19 • Second Round (Columbia, S.C.)
First round game winners, TBA

Friday, March 17 • First Round (Corvallis, Ore.)
#3 OREGON STATE (29-4) vs. #15 Long Beach State (23-10), 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. PT (ESPN2)
#7 Creighton (23-7) vs. #10 Toledo (25-8), 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sunday, March 19 • Second Round (Corvallis, Ore.)
First round game winners, TBA

LEXINGTON REGIONAL
Saturday, March 18 • First Round (Manhattan, Kansas)
#2 STANFORD (28-5) vs. #15 New Mexico State (24-6), 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
#7 Kansas State (22-10) vs. #10 Drake (28-4), 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, March 20 • Second Round (Manhattan, Kansas)
First round game winners, TBA

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