WCC Tournament Brackets Announced
Feb. 29, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's and women's basketball teams find themselves in familiar positions heading into the West Coast Conference Tournament that opens with women's action Thursday at Santa Clara University.
The tournament returns to Santa Clara for the first time since 2000 after a 3-year run at the University of San Diego. It will be the first tournament at the Leavey Center since the former Toso Pavilion was remodeled and re-named.
For the second straight year the Bulldog men head into the tourney as the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 14-0 WCC record, the first team since Pepperdine University in 1992 to run the table in the regular season. Gonzaga will play No. 4 University of San Francisco, No. 5 Santa Clara or No. 8 University of San Diego in Sunday's 9 p.m. semifinal to be televised on ESPN.
The men's tournament opens Friday with No. 6 University of Portland facing No. 7 Loyola Marymount University at 6 p.m., the winner taking on Pepperdine on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the right to meet SMC in Sunday's first semifinal at 6 p.m. SMC wrapped up the No. 2 seed and berth in the semifinal with a 104-95 win over Pepperdine on Sunday. Friday's second men's game has No. 5 SCU facing No. 8 USD 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Portland-LMU game. No. 4 USF will meet the SCU-USD winner in Saturday's second men's game for the right to face the top-seeded Bulldogs.
On the women's side, Gonzaga will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed for the second straight season and play the late semifinal on Saturday at approximately 2 p.m. The Bulldogs will face No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 6 SCU or No. 7 USF on Saturday. Gonzaga wrapped up the No. 2 seed and a berth in Saturday's semifinals with a 55-53 win at USD on Saturday. That knotted Gonzaga and Pepperdine for the No. 2 spot, but the Bulldogs got the nod by virtue of a win over regular-season champion LMU. Gonzaga and Pepperdine split their season series, thus the tiebreaker was based on results against other teams in descending order and Gonzaga handed LMU its lone WCC setback while Pepperdine went 0-2 against the Lions.
The women's tournament opens Thursday at noon with No. 5 Saint Mary's meeting No. 8 San Diego, the winner meeting No. 4 Portland at noon on Friday. Friday's winner takes on regular-season champion and No. 1 seed LMU at noon on Saturday in the first semifinal. No. 6 SCU will play No. 7 USF on Friday 30 minutes following the SMC-USD contest with the winner meeting No. 3 Pepperdine in Friday's second women's game at approximately 2 p.m. That survivor meets Gonzaga in Saturday's late semifinal.
Both teams of Bulldogs will be looking for different results than a year ago. Gonzaga's men downed Saint Mary's College in the semifinals, then fell to USD in the championship game to snap a string of four straight WCC Tournament titles for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga earned an at-large berth into its fifth straight NCAA Tournament.
The Gonzaga women fell to SCU in overtime in last year's semifinal. The Broncos got a desperation 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to OT, then the Bulldogs missed a layin at the overtime buzzer as the Broncos took the 60-59 decision.
The tournament champions earn the WCC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, although Gonzaga's men (25-2 and ranked fourth in the country) are assured an at-large berth should the favored Bulldogs not win their sixth tourney title. Gonzaga's women are seeking their inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance.
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