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California, here we come

Gopher women open against Tulane

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eagerly gathered with a hundred-something group of friends, family and media members one year ago, the Minnesota women's basketball team groaned upon seeing the No. 5 next to its name on the bracket.

This season, it would've been mighty nice to have.

Instead, the Gophers learned Sunday they'll head to California's Bay Area as the sixth seed in the West region to take on No. 11 Tulane Saturday.

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Looming in the second round March 24 is third-seeded and site host Stanford, if the Cardinal beat Western Michigan and Minnesota survives the Green Wave.

Despite the prospect of having to play on the homecourt of a powerhouse like Stanford, the Gophers are still happy to be included in the field of 64.

"I think we're really excited to be playing this time of the year," coach Pam Borton said, grinning as she looked around the crowded Club Room at Williams Arena.

"It's not at all disappointing."

Stanford, ninth in the latest Associated Press rankings, is just one part of a stacked region. From No. 1 seed LSU to eighth seed Wisconsin-Green Bay, the top eight West teams are ranked in the AP poll.

But the Gophers aren't focusing on that yet.

"Tulane, Tulane, Tulane," Borton said. "A lot of times teams can get in trouble when they start thinking ahead.

"No matter where you're going or what seed you have, every team in the NCAA tournament is good. We have to go through all these teams anyway."

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NCAAwomen's pairings, Page 7C

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