Pac-12 Tournament: Day 2 recaps and remaining schedule

LOS ANGELES – A key quarterfinal upset has resulted in an unlikely semifinal showdown Friday
afternoon at the Pac-12 Tournament.

Second-seeded Cal will take on #11 Washington State in the second game today, at 2:30 p.m. PST, after the Cougars upset #3 USC last night, 69-55.

WSU dismantled the Trojans by out-shooting them and capitalizing on turnovers. The Cougars got off to a quick start and lead most of the way, bolstering the margin by as much as 15 points with just under six minutes to go in the game. USC wasn’t able to rally a response, and ended up shooting 26.2 percent on the night, to WSU’s 44.6 percent. WSU also out-rebounded their opponents 51-36.

April Cook lead WSU with 15 points, while Jazmine Perkins added 12. Briana Gilbreath had 17 for USC, and Christina Marinacci put up 13.

Ironically, the coaches for both teams pointed to their pre-season schedule as a reason for the evening’s results.

USC played the fifth-hardest pre-season schedule, as rated by media sources, which included several ranked opponents. Coach Michael Cooper said that the schedule “in some cases wore us out, and in some cases it made us a better basketball team.”

WSU also challenged themselves in pre-season, and coach June Daugherty said it “got them ready,”
both mentally and physically, for post-season play.

The Cougars are the lowest-seeded team to reach the semifinal round, and it was the biggest upset in
tournament history. WSU has never played in the Tournament semifinal game.

Before that upset, Cal had to push to beat a tough Colorado team in the day’s most exciting quarterfinal. The Bears built an early lead and were ahead 35-27 at the break. But the Buffs clamped down on defense in the second period, and held their opponents to only free throws for a long stretch of the half. They cut Cal’s lead to 57-51 at the 2:39 mark, but the Bears sealed the win in the final minute with crucial free throws.

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said she liked the resilience her players demonstrated in the game, and the way they handled the last few minutes of action.

“We have a poise about us,” she said.

Colorado coach Linda Lappe gave credit to her squad for never giving up.

“I really liked our fight,” she said. “We didn’t quit at any point in that game.”

Layshia Clarendon lead the Bears with 12 points, and Brittany Wilson was tops for the Buffs with 18.

In the other two semifinals, #1 Stanford routed #8 Washington 76-57, and Arizona State out-muscled Arizona 68-53. Those two teams face off at noon.

Friday, March 9
GAME 09: (1) Stanford vs. (4) Arizona St. 12:00 p.m. FSN Live Stats
GAME 10: (2) California vs. (11) Washington St. 02:30 p.m. FSN Live Stats
Saturday, March 10
GAME 11: Pac-12 Championship 11:30 a.m. FSN Live Stats
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