LA JOLLA, Calif. - After recording an overall record of 28-2 and winning a third California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season title in the last four years, the UC San Diego women's basketball team was awarded the No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Division II West Regional Field, it was announced on Sunday.
The top-ranked Tritons will host the eight-team West Regional beginning Friday, March 9 and face No. 8 seed Chico State in a first round matchup at 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. The winner of the Triton-Wildcat clash will advance to face the winner of No. 4 seed Western Washington (21-7) and fifth-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay (21-8) in the semifinals on Saturday.
Friday's other two first round matchups will feature No. 3 seed Grand Canyon (23-3) against No. 6 Cal Poly Pomona (19-8) and No. 2 seed Alaska Anchorage (27-4) vs. No. 7 Cal State L.A. (18-11).
The two West Regional Semifinal games are scheduled for 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, with the regional championship game following at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 12. The winner of the West Regional Championship will move on to face the winner of the Midwest Region in the Elite Eight on March 20 in San Antonio, Texas.
UCSD went 2-0 against Chico State during the regular season, defeating the Wildcats, 97-91, in double overtime on January 7 in Chico, before claiming the rematch by a final margin of 93-76 on Feb. 10 in La Jolla. The Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 18-10 after losing to Cal State Monterey Bay in the CCAA Tournament Semifinals on Friday evening in La Jolla.
The Otters went on to claim their second straight conference tournament championship with a thrilling 71-69 victory over Cal State L.A. on Saturday.
UC San Diego owns a 6-6 record in six previous NCAA Tournament appearances at the Division II level, including a trip to the Final Four in 2007. The Tritons were knocked out in the first round in their last West Regional appearance, losing a 76-72 decision to CCAA rival Humboldt State in Seattle in 2010.
UCSD, which was left out of the West Regional picture last season, will have plenty of motivation when it takes the floor on Friday after being upset by CSULA on its home floor in the CCAA Tournament Semifinals this week. The Tritons rallied back from a seven-point deficit to take a 73-69 lead with less than three minutes to play, but the Golden Eagles scored eight of the final 11 points to hand the Tritons their second loss in four games and end UCSD's hopes for a conference tournament crown.
The Golden Eagles' Lorin Hammer drained an improbable three-pointer from 45 feet with less than one second remaining to seal the win.
2012 NCAA Division II West Regional
RIMAC Arena • La Jolla, Calif.
First Round - Friday, March 9
Game No. 1: No. 6 Cal Poly Pomona (19-8) vs. No. 3 Grand Canyon (23-3) - 12:00 p.m.
Game No. 2: No. 7 Cal State L.A. (18-11) vs. No. 2 Alaska Anchorage (27-4) - 2:30 p.m.
Game No. 3: No. 5 Cal State Monterey Bay (21-8) vs. No. 4 Western Washington (21-7) - 5:00 p.m.
Game No. 4: No. 8 Chico State (18-10) vs. No. 1 UC San Diego (28-2) - 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, March 10
Game No. 5: winner of game No. 1 vs. winner of game No. 2 - 5:00 p.m.
Game No. 6: winner of game No. 3 vs. winner of game No. 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Regional Championship Game - Monday, March 12
Winner of game No. 5 vs. winner of game No. 6 - 7:00 p.m.