Lady Tigers begin NCAAs at Colorado

The LSU women's basketball team will travel to Boulder, Colo., to face Santa Clara in the first round of the West Region in the 2002 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, it was announced on Sunday afternoon.<br> The 22nd-ranked Lady Tigers (17-11), seeded sixth in their bracket, will face the Broncos (21-9) on Friday, March 16, at 10:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2. LSU is making its seventh consecutive postseason appearance and its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

This will be the first meeting between the Lady Tigers and Santa Clara, the 11th seed in the West Region. Santa Clara was the runner up to Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference regular season and conference tournament. LSU is 3-1 all-time against teams from the West Coast Conference.


"I'm delighted for these kids and after what they have been through this year, to be a six seed, I couldn't be happier," said LSU head coach Sue Gunter. "We had hoped that there was a chance we could get a four or a five seed, but we knew that was an outside possibility. With the sixth seed, at least that keeps us away from a number one seed for a little while. The West Region is a good place to go."


Should LSU defeat Santa Clara, the Lady Tigers would face the winner of the game between No. 3 seed-Colorado and No. 14-seed Southern on Sunday, March 17 at 10 p.m. CT on ESPN2. Colorado handed LSU its worst loss of the season, 86-65, on Dec. 29 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the Triple Crown Classic.


"We've played Colorado before, but we've got Santa Clara to worry about first," said Gunter. "Colorado is a very good team and they beat us pretty good earlier in the year out in Lubbock, but I'm not even going to think about them because we have to get by Santa Clara first."


The Lady Tigers have faced cross-town Southern 20 times over the years, with the Lady Tigers holding the 17-3 all-time advantage. Their last meeting came in 1999 when LSU defeated the Lady Jags, 88-65.


"Wouldn't it be fun for us to face Southern in the tournament," Gunter continued. "It would be absolutely great. I think it is just wonderful what coach Sandy Pugh has done and I am just so pleased for Southern. I think both of us are just happy to be in the tournament and if that were to happen it would be quite a coup for Baton Rouge."


The Southeastern Conference placed eight teams in the tournament, the most of any league in the country with Vanderbilt, Tennessee, South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi State all getting the nod. Mississippi State is the only other SEC team in the West Region as the No. 12 seed.

"I think it speaks very highly of our conference that eight teams made the tournament," said Gunter. "To see at team like Mississippi State make the field is great because they really deserved to go to the tournament. The only team that really got left out was Alabama. We kind of hoped that if Georgia got in that Alabama would also get in. I think we are the strongest conference in the country and the number of teams in the tournament speaks well for it."


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