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Originally published Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:12 PM

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Pac-12 sends four teams to NCAA women's tournament

Stanford earns a No. 1 seed, California No. 2, UCLA No. 3 and Colorado No. 5 in NCAA women's basketball tournament.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Pac-12 knew it would have four teams in the NCAA women's basketball tournament. It even knew Stanford would earn a top seed and play at home, and that Colorado, which received a No. 5 seed on Monday, also would play on its home court.

The question was where UCLA would land in a bracket based heavily on putting teams close to home to boost early-round ticket sales. The Bruins received a No. 3 seed. So far, so good. But they aren't playing anywhere close to home, and their reward for winning their first three games would be a possible Oklahoma City Regional championship game against No. 1 Baylor, the defending champion.

California is a No. 2 seed, its highest NCAA tournament seeding, and was placed in the same bracket as Stanford.

The Cardinal (31-2) opens against No. 16 seed Tulsa (16-16) at 2:20 p.m. Sunday at Maples Pavilion. Cal (28-3) plays No. 15 Fresno State (24-8) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock, Texas. Stanford and Cal are in the Spokane Regional.

Stanford, which shared the regular-season Pac-12 title with Cal, has advanced to the Final Four the past five seasons. But the Cardinal split games with the Golden Bears during the regular season, winning 62-53 at Haas Pavilion in January and losing 67-55 five days later at home.

UCLA (25-7) will play No. 14 Stetson (24-8) at approximately 11:40 a.m. Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Colorado (25-6) plays No. 12 seed Kansas (18-13) at approximately 3:40 p.m. Saturday in Boulder. The Buffaloes are in the Norfolk Region, with No. 1 seed Notre Dame.

Colorado is making its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2004, when it advanced to the Sweet 16. The Buffaloes are 12-3 all-time at home in the NCAA tournament and have won six straight.

This is the first year since 2009 the Pac-12 has sent four teams to the NCAA tournament. Stanford reached the semifinals, losing to Connecticut 83-64.

For the first time in tournament history, the top four women's seeds are the same for consecutive seasons — Baylor, Stanford, Connecticut and Notre Dame.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.

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