The Stanford Cardinal were given a No. 2 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, but face a potentially difficult second-round draw, while the Cal Golden Bears are a No. 7 seed and will head to Waco, Texas, for this weekend’s first round.
The Cardinal (29-3) likely missed out on a No. 1 seed when they were knocked off by USC in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on March 8.
Their first-round matchup in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday is with 15th-seeded South Dakota (19-13). The Coyotes made the field after shocking top-seeded South Dakota State in the semifinals of the Summit League tournament on March 10 before beating Denver in the final the next day.
That’s where it could get dicey for Stanford.
Assuming the Cardinal beats South Dakota, they would go on to a second-round game in the Stanford Region against the winner between 10th-seeded Florida State (20-11) and No. 7 seed Iowa State (20-10). Iowa State is hosting the first and second rounds, meaning the Cardinal could be playing a road game in the second round.
Of course, the reward should Stanford get past the Cyclones would be true home games in the regional semifinals and finals, even though South Carolina is the top seed in the region.
The Golden Bears (21-9) are headed to Waco for the first round on Saturday, where they face 10th-seeded Fordham (25-7), which upset top-seeded Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament on March 9.
The winner advances to the second round to face the winner between 15th-seeded Western Kentucky (24-8), the Sun Belt tournament champs thanks to an upset of top-seeded Arkansas State in the final on Saturday, and No. 2 seed Baylor (29-4), which knocked off West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament final on March 10 after splitting the regular-season title with the Mountaineers.
The top seeds for the tournament are Connecticut (34-0), South Carolina (27-4), Notre Dame (32-0) and Tennessee (27-5).
The Pac-12 landed five teams in the field. Along with the Cardinal and Golden Bears, Arizona State, Oregon State and USC were selected, all as No. 9 seeds. The Sun Devils (22-9) face Vanderbilt in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday. The Beavers (23-10) will play Middle Tennessee in Seattle on Sunday, while the Trojans take on St. John’s in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday.
Regionally, the West Coast Conference got two bids, with Gonzaga and BYU both in the field. Fresno State is in from the Mountain West Conference, North Dakota is representing the Big Sky Conference and Cal State Northridge is the Big West Conference’s representative.
Stanford plays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Saturday, with the game to be aired on ESPN2. Cal’s game Saturday is at 1 p.m. Pacific, also on ESPN2.