March 13, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - California earned its first NCAA Tournament selection in 13 years Monday when the 64-team field was announced on ESPN. The 10th-seed Golden Bears meet seventh-seeded St. John's in the first round Sunday, March 19 at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and listened to on KALX Radio (90.7 FM) in the Bay Area.
"I think I was the first one out of the seat," said first-year Cal head coach Joanne Boyle, whose team is slotted in the Albuquerque, N.M., regional. "I started jumping. It was out of control in the locker room. I think it took us all a couple of seconds to process it because there were only a couple of seeds left. When we all registered it was us, it was mayhem."
The California-St. John's winner will play the winner of the Maryland (No. 2 seed, 28-4)-Sacred Heart (No. 15 seed, 26-4) game on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. ET or 9:30 p.m. ET at the same location on the campus of Penn State.
The Bears, who own their first winning record at 18-11 since 1992-93, will be making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since advancing to the second round in 1993. That season, Cal defeated Kansas in the first round, 62-47, before losing to Vanderbilt, 82-63, in the second round.
St. John's boasts a 21-7 overall record and tied for third in the Big East Conference with an 11-5 mark. The Red Storm defeated the Bears, 81-62, in the teams' only previous meeting Dec. 29, 1983, at the Queens Tournament.
"(The bid) puts us on the map and puts us on the national scene," said Boyle. "It exposes us and lets us showcase four freshmen who play a lot of minutes. Cal has been out of the postseason for so long. For us to make an impact and kind of be one of those elite teams in the Pac-10, it's just unbelievable for us."
For the first time ever, the Pac-10 received six bids to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Bears placed sixth in the Pac-10 with a 10-8 record. Cal is one of eight schools in the country whose football team won a bowl game and whose men's and women's basketball teams earned NCAA Tournament bids. Those teams are Cal, Boston College, Oklahoma, UCLA, LSU, North Carolina State, Florida and Ohio State.