March 12, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - California earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament selection Monday when the 64-team field was announced on ESPN. The eighth-seeded Golden Bears, who earned an at-large bid, meet ninth-seeded Notre Dame in the first round Sunday, March 18, at 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT) at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and listened to on KALX Radio (90.7 FM) in the Bay Area.
"Last year, we were standing in the locker room just hoping we got in, but this year, we knew we were in," said Cal's Joanne Boyle, the Pac-10 Coach of the Year who grew up in Pittsburgh. "It was just depending on where we go. It is just a tribute to the kids, to be in this for only two years and get back-to-back invites. So, we are excited."
The Cal team watched the selection show along with fans and media at the Bear's Lair on campus.
The California-Notre Dame winner will play the winner of the North Carolina (No. 1 seed, 30-3)-Prairie View (No. 16 seed, 19-13) game on Tuesday, March 20, at a TBA time at the same location. North Carolina faces Prairie View in the first round Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The four teams are playing for the right to advance to the Dallas Regional March 25 and 27.
The Bears, who at 23-8 have equaled the program's best record through 31 games, will be making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and second since 1993. Last season, 10th-seeded Cal lost to seventh-seeded St. John's, 78-68, in the first round of NCAAs in University Park, Pa.
Notre Dame boasts a 19-11 overall record and tied for fifth in the Big East Conference with a 10-6 mark. This will be the first meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Bears. North Carolina holds a 2-1 series lead over Cal, and the Bears have never met Prairie View.
Cal owns a 5-6 record against this year's NCAA Tournament field. The Bears hold victories over Stanford, Washington, UC Riverside, Belmont and Harvard, while they lost three times to Arizona State and one time each to Vanderbilt, Stanford and Washington.
The Pac-10 received four NCAA Tournament bids this season - California, Stanford, Arizona State and Washington. The Bears placed third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 record, equaling the 1991-92 team for the best Pac-10 mark. The third-place showing slightly bettered the 1991-92 Bears, who tied for third, for the best Pac-10 finish in school history.
Cal is led by the sophomore post tandem of Devanei Hampton (16.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Ashley Walker (17.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg). This season, Hampton became the first Cal player to be chosen the Pac-10 Player of the Year, earned her second first-team All-Pac-10 honor and was named a finalist for the WBCA/Kodak All-America team. Walker joined Hampton on the All-Pac-10 team.