By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
The Stanford women's basketball team can't get caught up in looking too far ahead, even with California a possible opponent in the Spokane Regional final.
The Cardinal received a No. 1 seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament. It's the fourth consecutive year the Cardinal (31-2) has been named a top seed and will host Tulsa (17-16) on Sunday at 2:20 p.m.
California was named the No. 2 seed in the regional and plays Fresno State in Lubbock, Texas.
"I was surprised a little bit but I'm happy," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I'm excited for Cal to get a 2 seed."
No. 8 Michigan and No. 9 Villanova will play in the second first-round contest at Maples Pavilion 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Stanford-Tulsa contest. The first-round winners will meet Tuesday at approximately 6:30 p.m., also in Maples, with that winner advancing to the Sweet 16 in Spokane.
Stanford earned its 26th consecutive, 27th overall NCAA tournament bid, as the Pac-12's automatic qualifier by capturing its seventh straight Pac-12 Tournament title.
"I was so excited to see Tulsa on the bracket so we can have something to focus our energy on," Cardinal junior Chiney Ogwumike said. "I'm excited to be back at Maples. It's a special place."
Stanford, which has been a No. 1 seed 10 times, opens at home for the 17th time and has a postseason record of 26-4.
Stanford and Tulsa meet for the first time. The Golden Hurricane earned its second NCAA tournament bid, and first since 2006, by winning four straight games at the Conference USA tournament as the No. 6 seed.
"I thought we'd be a 1 seed and that we might be in Spokane," VanDerveer said. "Now we're playing a team I know absolutely nothing about. It's great to be at home."
Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top six in scoring (22.4 ppg; sixth), rebounding (13.1 rpg; fourth), field-goal percentage (57.4; fourth) and double-doubles (26; t-first).
She was named Pac-12 Player of the Year after becoming the first player to capture the conference's Triple Crown (leading the conference in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage at the end of the regular season), and earned her second straight Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle and sophomore point guard Amber Orrange were also named to the All-Pac-12 Team following career years.
Tinkle leads the Pac-12 in blocks (1.85 per game) and is averaging career highs of 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Orrange, meanwhile, is averaging 10.5 points and 4.15 assists per game.
The Golden Hurricane, guided by second-year head coach Matilda Mossman, is led by the play of senior guard Taleya Mayberry (18.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and senior forward Tiffani Couisnard (8.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg).
The Spokane Regional was made more interesting when California (28-3) was named the No. 2 seed. The Golden Bears handed Stanford one of its two losses this season.
The Bay Area rivalry may be renewed in the Elite Eight, with a trip to New Orleans at stake.
"The whole Notre Dame-UConn rivalry is comparable with us and Cal," Ogwumike said. "It's a great rivalry for women's basketball on the west coast."
Cal meets Fresno State in the first round and either Texas Tech or South Florida in the second round.
UCLA and Colorado were also picked for the tournament from the Pac-12.