Swing and a miss: Pac-12 gets 7 teams in women’s tourney, none in Elite Eight
The Pac-12 has a robust women’s basketball brand and identity. If men’s hoops is mediocre and generally not making the grade, one can’t say the same for the women’s side of the college basketball realm. Stanford has been a regular presence at the Women’s Final Four. Oregon made a Final Four and was going to be the favorite to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament had the pandemic not wiped it out. In 2016, Oregon State and Washington both made the Women’s Final Four. Arizona reached the championship game in 2021. This conference has certainly delivered the goods in many March Madness journeys over the past decade.
Not this year. Not this time.
The Pac-12 sent seven teams to the Big Dance in women’s basketball. None of them made the Elite Eight. That’s a stinging, sobering setback for a conference which expects to do better in women’s hoops.
Stanford lost in the Round of 32, but it wasn’t just the Trees who fell short. Utah had a golden chance to make the Final Four with two other top-four seeds gone, but the Utes lost to No. 3 seed LSU in the Sweet 16, missing crucial late free throws to bow out early.
Washington State lost as a 5 seed to 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. USC lost to South Dakota State in the first round. Arizona lost to Maryland in the second round.
UCLA and Colorado had good tournament showings, but they were outclassed by superior opponents, South Carolina and Iowa, in the Sweet 16. Other teams and conferences were better. The Pac-12, which had a great regular season, didn’t measure up in March.
A lot of work will need to be done in the offseason, including at USC. It’s a time for Pac-12 women’s hoops programs to study what went wrong and find real solutions next season.
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