Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals
#12 UCLA Women's Basketball (22-7, 14-4)
Opponent: Arizona (12-18, 3-15)
When: 2:00 PM PST, Friday, March 4, 2016
Where: KeyArena, Seattle, WA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
Is it better to be lucky or good? With respect to UCLA's place in the Pac-12 Tournament bracket, the Bruins have both good results and good fortune to thank for a very favorable draw.
Let's start with the "good" part of the equation. By beating #9 Arizona State to close out the Pac-12 regular season, UCLA claimed a share of third place in the conference and earned the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tourney by virtue of owning the head-to-head tiebreaker against Stanford. Securing the third seed ensured that the Bruins would not face the #8 Oregon State Beavers, which is a team that UCLA doesn't match up with particularly well. It also means that UCLA will avoid a potential semifinal game against Washington, the school hosting this year's tournament.
Now for the luck part of the equation. If it weren't for a season-ending injury to All-American Jillian Alleyne last week, the Bruins would surely be facing a very dangerous Oregon team today. With Alleyne on the court, the Ducks had charged through the second portion of the Pac-12 season, winning 9 of 11 games before losing their star player to an ACL tear.
Without Alleyne, the Ducks are a completely different team. They closed out the Pac-12 regular season by losing their final two games, and to prove that wasn't a fluke, they lost yesterday to 11th-seeded Arizona. To put that in proper perspective, Arizona won just three games during the Pac-12 regular season.
Of course none of that matters today--it's win or go home. But the Bruins have to be happy about facing Arizona, a team that the Bruins have defeated twice in less than a month. The first time the teams met, UCLA raced to an early lead and never looked back. It was 16-2 at the end of the first quarter, 34-11 at the end of the half, and 73-39 at the final buzzer.
The second contest in Westwood was closer. Instead of winning by 34 points, the Bruins won by only 27 points. That was last week. In other words, UCLA has to be considered a heavy favorite heading into today's quarterfinal game.
This is a big game for UCLA Women's Basketball. A win today should lock in a first round home game for the Bruins in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It's a big prize that the Bruins need to seize.