There is no truth to the rumor the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament will be renamed the Stanford Invitational.
The Cardinal has won 10 conference tournament titles under Tara VanDerveer and will be the No. 1 seed for the 13th time. The four-day event begins on Thursday at KeyArena in Seattle.
Stanford is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll after rolling through the regular season with a 28-2 record, including 17-1 in the Pac-12. The losses were to No. 1 UConn on Nov. 11 and at Washington on Feb. 9.
The Cardinal avenged its loss in Seattle with an 83-60 victory over the Huskies last week at Stanford. A rematch with the Huskies from Storrs, Conn., could come at the Final Four in Nashville.
The question is: What is it going to take for one of the other 11 teams to cut down the nets on Sunday?
"They're a tough team and they've won a lot of games in the conference for a reason," Colorado coach Linda Lappe said of Stanford, which has won both of the Pac-12 tournaments since the conference expanded from 10 teams. "It's a matter of doing what you do better than they do for one game."
The Buffaloes, who were ranked as high as No. 12 in the polls during nonconference play, are the No. 9 seed at the Pac-12 tournament. The survivor of CU (16-13, 6-12) vs. No. 8 UCLA (13-17, 7-11), a matchup of injury-depleted rosters, will face Stanford in the quarterfinals on Friday.
"Really what it comes down to in March is which team can play to their strengths for 40 minutes. And Stanford has a lot of strengths," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "You have to disrupt that and not let them play in a rhythm."
The hottest team in the conference entering March Madness is Oregon State. The third-seeded Beavers (21-9, 13-5) have won nine consecutive games to put themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble after an 8-6 start to the season.
ESPN's Charlie Creme has four Pac-12 teams --Stanford (1), California (5), Arizona State (7) and Oregon State (11) -- seeded in his latest bracket projection
"I think the wins are just a byproduct of playing right all the time," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "That's one of the strongest attributes of this team is our consistency, which is remarkable because of all our youth."
Oregon State awaits the winner of No. 6 Washington (17-12, 10-8) vs. No. 11 Utah (11-18, 4-14). The Beavers swept the Huskies and defeated the Utes in their only meeting during the regular season.
Cal (21-8, 13-5), No. 20 in this week's AP poll, is the No. 2 seed on the opposite side of the bracket from Stanford. The Bears will face the winner of No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 10 Oregon.
The Ducks (15-14, 6-12) and Cougars (15-15, 9-9) split during the regular season with the home team prevailing in both meetings. The rubber match is at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
"My overview is it's pretty close to a draw. This game is probably going to come down to the last two, three possessions," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. "We're pretty evenly matched. I think it's going to be a terrific game."
Arizona State (22-8, 11-7) dropped out of the national polls and settled for the No. 4 seed after getting swept by Oregon and Oregon State last weekend.
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