UCLA and Washington State reach Pac-12 Tournament final with big upsets
March Madness has fully visited the Pac-12, and we’re not even talking about the NCAA Tournament just yet. The Pac-12 Women’s Tournament has exploded into full bracket chaos, with both semifinals delivering big upsets.
Imagine anyone telling you before the tournament began that neither of the two conference co-champions for the regular season, Stanford or Utah, would make Sunday’s final in Las Vegas. Yet, that’s exactly what has happened.
Washington State took out second-seeded Utah in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Then UCLA rallied from 10 down at the start of the fourth quarter to beat top-seeded Stanford in Friday’s first semifinal. The Bruins hit 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and scored 29 points in the last 10 minutes to beat a Stanford team whose perimeter shooters couldn’t score. This clogged up the paint and prevented Cameron Brink from being able to take over the game. UCLA freshman Kiki Rice scored 22 points for the Bruins, who were one basket away from losing to last-place Arizona State in the first game of this tournament on Wednesday afternoon. UCLA survived, then dumped Arizona on Thursday, and is now in the Pac-12 final.
The Bruins will face Washington State, which beat third-seeded Colorado by 12 points. Washington State has eliminated the second and third seeds in this tournament and is playing elite defense. The Cougars have held all three opponents at this tournament under 60 points. They will try to do the same against UCLA in a 7-versus-5 Pac-12 Tournament title game.
This is March.
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