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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

March 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM

TV Alert: Stanford and Arizona kick-off Staples Center play

Ibekwe.jpgWe’re moments from a big moment in Pac-10 tournament history, the first time the conference has combined the men’s and women’s semifinals at one venue. On the line is nationwide respect and tournament bids for the women’s teams, as No. 1 seed Stanford tips-off against No. 4 seed Arizona at noon on FSN from Staples Center. No. 2 UCLA and No. 5. California will follow on at 2:30 p.m.
Both Stanford and UCLA received double byes, not playing at Galen Center this week.
Cal, which had a week of practice prior to entering the tournament, has thrown a wrench in what was only three projected Pac-10 tournament berths by defeating favored Arizona State on Thursday. USC was a bubble team, but lost to Arizona on Thursday and sits at the same 19-12 record that kept the Trojans out of the NCAA tourney this season.
Coach Michael Cooper said his team will accept any postseason bid this year, but the NCAA hopes are fading. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are proving to be a suitable candidate and have the glittering 20-plus wins to boot.
With Stanford being ranked second in the nation, Arizona playing the Cardinal well on national television has to show what ASU coach Charlie Turner Thorne has been chanting all season — the Pac-10 conference is better than what critics believe.
“This year is really up for grabs, there’s a lot of really good teams throughout the country,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “But I feel like we have really good teams in our conference. Ourselves and UCLA are pretty much locks for the NCAA. Arizona State has a chance and Arizona is coming along really strong. They might be a team that should be up for consideration.
“I would say four (should get NCAA berths) and maybe five with USC. Regardless of what people might think or say nationally, I really feel the Pac-10 has done a really good job of getting us ready for the NCAA tournament.”
*PHOTO CREDIT: Arizona F Ify Ibekwe shoots over USC G Briana Gilbreath in the Pac-10 conference tournament in Los Angeles by The Associated Press

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