March 18, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State women's basketball team will be the No. 15 seed in the Spokane Region, and open the 2013 NCAA Tournament against second-seeded California in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday at 1:20 p.m. PT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
The Bulldogs (24-8, 13-3 MW), who captured the Mountain West Tournament championship for the league's automatic bid, are making their sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Fresno State's streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the 14th longest active one in the NCAA and the second-longest from any team not in a BCS conference (trailing Marist's steak of eight-consecutive appearances).
"The NCAA tournament is about giving everyone an opportunity and a chance," head coach Raegan Pebley said. "I think Cal is a great matchup for us. They are a team that has been hot the past few years and they have done a great job in recruiting. We are really excited about this matchup."
Cal, currently ranked No. 6 in the NCAA, enters the tournament with a 28-3 overall record and shared the Pac-12 regular season title with Stanford. This is the Bears' second-straight NCAA appearance and their ninth in program history.
Fresno State enters the tournament hot, having won seven-straight and 14 out of its last 16 games. The Bulldogs defeated San Diego State in the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championship game to secure the league's automatic bid into the tournament.
"I think we are a good matchup for Cal," junior guard Taylor Thompson said. "We are going to go in and give them all we got. We have to believe that we are here for a reason. We deserve to be here and have to go into the game confident."
Fresno State has faced Cal once before in the NCAA Tournament, that game being played in 2009 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Bears won that decision, 70-47, and Cal has an all-time series advantage of 21-5 over the 'Dogs.
This will be the fifth meeting this year against a Pac-12 opponent for Fresno State. The Bulldogs lost to then third-ranked Stanford in the season opener and fell at Oregon on Dec. 16. Fresno State defeated Washington State and USC at home this year.
"I would say so," junior guard Ki-Ki Moore said when asked if it is a luxury playing a Pac-12 team. "I've seen them play a lot and I'm sure our coaches have seen them play a lot."
"This is our fifth Pac-12 opponent and we'll be able to reflect a lot on that experience and how that league is used to playing," Pebley added. "We have added versatility to our offense and stayed aggressive on defense. We are two schools that are familiar with one and other. I think it is exciting for our fans to have two California schools playing each other."
The Bulldogs have a 0-5 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Fresno State accomplished its first goal this year by getting back into the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Bulldogs look forward to the opportunity to get their first win in the Big Dance.
"That's been our main goal for the last four years I've been here," said senior guard Rosie Moult. "Just to get our first win would be a dream come true."
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.
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