UCLA, USC will have to play in
Stanford, California and Arizona State are on their way to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, their participation assured by their regular-season performances.
That makes the Pacific 10 Conference tournament, which starts tonight at the Galen Center, an all-or-nothing proposition for UCLA, USC and the five other teams hoping for a postseason berth.
Win the tournament and you’re in. Otherwise, it’s wait until next year.
“It’s either do or die,” UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell said.
Second-ranked Stanford (26-4) is the top-seeded team for the eighth consecutive year, clinching its ninth straight regular-season title by beating Arizona State last week. Sophomore guard Jeanette Pohlen, who played at Brea Olinda High, had 19 points in the win.
Stanford will play Friday against the winner of tonight’s game between Washington State (11-18) and Arizona (11-18). Ninth-ranked California (24-5), seeded second, plays the winner of tonight’s game between Oregon (9-20) and Washington (7-21).
Fourth-seeded UCLA (18-11) plays Friday against Oregon State (19-10). Sixth-seeded USC (15-14) plays 18th-ranked Arizona State (23-7).
Several teams have recently lost key players because of knee injuries. Arizona State guard Dymond Simon, California guard Alexis Gray-Lawson and USC center Nadia Parker are either out or could be limited.
Neither USC nor UCLA has advanced to the NCAA tournament since 2006.
No. 7 Oregon vs.
No. 10 Washington, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Washington State vs.
No. 9 Arizona, 8:15 p.m.