USC women earn No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament

After winning the Pac-12 Tournament, the Trojans earned their first No. 1 seed in 38 years and will host first weekend games at Galen Center.

LOS ANGELES — Ever since, USC defeated Stanford last weekend to win the last ever Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament title, the Trojans had been penciled into the NCAA Tournament bracket as a No. 1 seed. On Sunday, what had been presumed for a week became official.

When the NCAA selection committee revealed the bracket for the NCAA Tournament Sunday evening, USC was announced as the No. 1 seed in the Portland 3 region. It is the program’s first No. 1 seed since the legendary Cheryl Miller led the Women of Troy to the Final Four in 1986. Fittingly, Miller was in attendance at the team’s selection show watch party on Sunday.

“A one seed is something we worked for and we’re 110% grateful for,” junior center Rayah Marshall said in an interview with Keely Eure of USC Athletics following the announcement. “That’s everything we wished for coming into the season.”

As a top-four seed, USC will host first weekend games at Galen Center. It will be the arena’s first time hosting NCAA Tournament games since it opened in 2006.

The action on Figueroa Street will kick off on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. PDT when No. 8 seed Kansas battles No. 9 seed Michigan. Then at approximately 1:30 p.m. top-seeded USC will take on No. 16 seed Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. The winners will face off on Monday for a spot in the Sweet 16.

Should USC advance to the second weekend, they would play their games in Portland, Oregon. This sets the Trojans up at a relative geographical advantage, as the remaining top four seeds in their region (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Connecticut, and No. 4 Virginia Tech) are all from the Eastern Time Zone.

First, however, the Trojans will set their sights on a Texas A&M Corpus-Christi team that is making its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Islanders advanced to the Big Dance by winning the Southland Conference Tournament.

“We’re gonna come out here and compete against any opponent that we face like it could be our last possible game, because it can,” Marshall said. “We’re here to compete.”

“Let’s put on our dancing shoes and get busy.”