No. 3 UCLA Ready to Square Off with No. 14 Stetson
March 20, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's basketball team earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Monday and will face No. 14 seed Stetson (24-8, 14-4 Atlantic Sun) on Saturday, March 23 at 10:40 a.m. (PT) on ESPN2 in first-round action.
Selected to the Oklahoma City Region, the Bruins (25-7, 14-4 Pac-12) will play their first-round tournament game at St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University.
UCLA finished third in the Pac-12 Conference behind Top 10 teams Stanford and California, which shared the regular season crown with a league mark of 17-1. The Bruins defeated No. 5 California, 70-58, in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals and then lost a heartbreaker, 51-49, to No. 4 Stanford in the title game at Seattle's KeyArena on March 10.
This marks UCLA's 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and 19th overall (includes seven AIAW appearances) and is Head Coach Cori Close's first trip as a head coach (in her second season).
The No. 3 seed equals the best seed for UCLA in school history (the Bruins earned a three-seed in 1998-99 and again in 2010-11). Additionally, UCLA is 10-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has never faced Stetson.
The winner of Saturday's contest will play the winner of No. 6-seed Oklahoma vs. No. 11-seed Central Michigan on Monday, March 25, in Columbus, Ohio. The Bruins defeated the Sooners earlier this season, 86-80, at then No. 11 Oklahoma.
While this is Coach Close's first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a head coach, she is no stranger come March to the NCAA Tournament as she went to 15 straight NCAA Tournaments as an assistant coach at Florida State (2005-11) and UC Santa Barbara (1997-2004).
The Bruins went 6-6 this year against the 2013 NCAA Tournament field. UCLA defeated No. 2 seed California (neutral), No. 5 seed Colorado, at No. 6 seed Oklahoma, No. 9 seed Saint Joseph's, No. 9 seed Princeton and at No. 10 seed St. John's. All six of the Bruins' losses were to Top 2 seeds (three to No. 1 Stanford, two to No. 2 California and one to No. 1 Notre Dame).
UCLA last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in March 2011, also as a No. 3 seed, defeating No. 14 Montana in a first-round matchup before losing to No. 6 Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., in a second-round contest.
While UCLA is 25-7 overall and went 14-4 (third place) in the Pac-12, all four conference losses and six of the seven defeats this season were to Top 7 teams (Top 2 seeds) in the country. UCLA lost to 4th-ranked Stanford (#1 seed) on the road and on a neutral court (Pac-12 Tournament title game), at home to 5th-ranked Notre Dame (#1), at 6th-ranked Stanford (#1), at home to 6th-ranked California (#2) and at 7th-ranked California (#2). The Bruins defeated 5th-ranked California (#2) in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals and posted victories at 11th-ranked Oklahoma (#6), vs. 12th-ranked Texas (neutral) and at home over 22nd-ranked Colorado (#5). The Bruins were 4-6 vs. ranked teams this season. It is the most ranked teams UCLA has faced in one season since 2006-07. That year, the Bruins faced 10 Top 25 teams (1-9 vs. ranked teams). Addtionally, UCLA is 6-6 against the 2013 NCAA Tournament field. The Bruins also posted wins at home over No. 9 seed Saint Joseph's and No. 9 seed Princeton and at No. 10 St. John's in overtime. UCLA also went 6-0 vs. the 2013 WNIT field.
After a second-place finish at the Pac-12 Tournament with a 51-49 loss to No. 4 Stanford in the championship game, a 70-58 win over No. 5 California in the semis and a 54-43 quarterfinal win over Utah last week, the UCLA Bruins moved up three spots to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 Poll and one spot to No. 12 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. UCLA improved two spots to No. 11 in the NCAA Women's Basketball RPI (NCAA.com). UCLA has been ranked at least one week in both polls in each of the past four seasons.
BRUINS IN STATISTICAL RANKINGS
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CLick for Bruin Video