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NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Stanford women don't get No. 1 seeding from NCAA

The Cardinal, despite its No. 2 ranking, is passed over for one of the four No. 1 seedings in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

March 17, 2009|Gary Klein

The Stanford women's basketball team rolled to Pacific 10 Conference regular-season and tournament titles with hopes of garnering a No. 1 seeding for the NCAA tournament.

Those hopes were dashed Monday when the NCAA tournament field was announced and the No. 2-ranked Cardinal wasn't among the four No. 1-seeded teams.

The top seedings went to top-ranked Connecticut (33-0) in the regional at Trenton, N.J.; Maryland (28-4) in the regional at Raleigh, N.C.; Oklahoma (28-4) in the regional at Oklahoma City; and Duke (26-5) in the regional at Berkeley.

The Final Four will be played at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on April 5 and 7.

Connecticut, going for its sixth national title, is regarded as the team to beat.

The Huskies have defeated opponents this season by an average of 31 points a game.

Only four of nine teams that began the women's tournament unbeaten have won the title. Connecticut was the last to do it in 2002.

Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma said he was not taking anything for granted.

"I'm not sitting here thinking about who we're playing in St. Louis," Auriemma said during a television broadcast announcing the bracket. "Trust me."

Stanford (29-4) is seeded second in the Berkeley Regional and will open the tournament against 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara (22-9) on Saturday in San Diego.

The winner meets the winner of the game between DePaul (23-9) and San Diego State (23-7).

After her team routed USC in the Pac-10 tournament championship game Sunday for its 16th consecutive victory, Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer cited a strong finish and Stanford's strength of schedule as reasons the Cardinal was worthy of a No. 1 seeding.

But the NCAA tournament selection committee apparently thought different, perhaps referencing Stanford's 56-52 loss at Duke on Dec. 16, one of four defeats against ranked teams. California and Arizona State of the Pac-10 also made the tournament.

California (25-6) is seeded fourth in the Trenton Regional and will play No. 13 Fresno State (24-8) on Saturday in a first-round game at USC's Galen Center. Virginia (23-9) will play Marist (29-3) in the other first-round game at the arena.

Monday's second-round game also is at the Galen Center.

Cal hopes for better luck than it experienced Saturday at the Galen Center, where a last-second shot by forward Ashley Walker was disallowed by referees, giving USC a Pac-10 tournament semifinal victory over the Golden Bears.

Arizona State (23-8) is seeded sixth in the Trenton Regional and will play No. 11 Georgia (18-13) at Duluth, Ga.

Tennessee (22-10), which has won eight titles, including the last two, is seeded fifth in the West Regional.

It is the Lady Vols' lowest seeding of Coach Pat Summitt's career.

Tennessee opens against Ball State (25-8).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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