March 8, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
Utah (27-3, 16-0) enters the 2008 Phillips 66 Mountain West Conference Women's Basketball Championship as the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2003. The MWC Championship will be held at Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center, March 11-15.
TCU (20-10, 13-3) finished second in the regular-season standings, followed by Wyoming (24-5, 12-4) in third. New Mexico's (17-12, 9-7) final two wins to close out the regular season, propelled the team a to fourth place finish, while BYU (13-15, 7-9) tied San Diego State (16-12, 7-9) for fifth place in the standings. According to the tie-breaking procedures, the Cougars will be the fifth seed in the championship, while the Aztecs will play at the No. 6 position. Both teams split their regular-season meetings and have 0-4 records vs. the top two teams in the standings (Utah and TCU). BYU earned 1-1 record vs. third-place Wyoming, compared to San Diego State's 0-2 mark against the Cowgirls, to break the tie. Air Force (10-18, 4-12) and UNLV (8-21, 4-12) tied for seventh place in the standings. According to the tie-breaking procedures, the Falcons earn the No. 7 seed and the Rebels will be No. 8. The teams split the regular-season series and have matching records vs. every other team in the league. The seeds were determined by the most recent NCAA RPI (as of Wednesday, March 5), which held Air Force at 225 and UNLV at 228. UNLV will battle ninth-seeded Colorado State (2-27, 0-16) in the first-round game.
The opening-round game featuring the No. 8 Rebels and No. 9 Rams will take place on Tuesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. PT. The meeting will mark the second contest between the two schools in the MWC Tournament, with the last game resulting in a 72-58 UNLV semifinal win on March 8, 2002. Colorado State leads the all-time series, 14-13, despite being swept in the regular-season series by UNLV. Colorado State is 7-7 in the MWC Championship, while the Rebels are 6-8.
No. 1 seed Utah will face the winner of the No. 8/No. 9 first-round game. The Utes are 3-1 in the MWC Tournament against the Rebels and have never faced the Rams. Utah leads the all-time series vs. the Rebels (25-11) and the Rams (54-13), including a sweep of both season series this year. The Utes are 13-6 all-time in the MWC Championship, with four title-game appearances and two championships (2000, 2006).
TCU is the No. 2 seed, its highest seed in MWC Tournament history (No. 4 in 2006, 2007). The Horned Frogs have never met No. 7 Air Force in the MWC Championship. TCU is 1-2 overall in the tournament, advancing to the semifinals in its first year in the league (2005-06). Air Force earned its first tournament win last year, defeating Colorado State, 47-46. The Horned Frogs hold a 10-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Falcons.
Wyoming is the No. 3 seed after earning its highest seed, No. 2, in last year's tournament. The Cowgirls meet No. 6 seed San Diego State in the first round for the second consecutive year. Last year, Wyoming defeated San Diego State, 56-44, to advance to the semifinals. Wyoming leads the championship series, 1-0, and holds the overall series, 20-14. The Cowgirls also swept the season series this year. The Cowgirls are 2-8 all-time in the tournament, while the Aztecs are still looking for their first tournament win.
New Mexico will play as the No. 4 seed after winning the tournament last year as a No. 3 seed. The Lobos will take on defending regular-season champion BYU for the fourth time in tournament history, including twice in the championship game. In 2003 and 2007, the Lobos defeated the Cougars to earn the tournament title. The teams split the regular-season series, but BYU holds the all-time advantage, 38-23. BYU holds a 14-7 tournament record, while New Mexico boasts the best record in the league at 14-4. The Lobos are also riding a three-game win streak in the conference tournament, dating back to last year.
MWC Championship Notes
- The MWC Championship has produced four different champions in its eight-year history. New Mexico is the only school to win three consecutive championships (2003-2005) and four overall (2007), while Utah owns two titles (2000, 2006). Colorado State (2001) and BYU (2002) each have one title apiece.
- The No. 1 seed has won the tournament only three of the last eight years. New Mexico won the title as the No. 1 seed in 2004 and 2005, while Utah won the championship in 2000 as the top seed. Colorado State (2001), New Mexico (2003) and Utah (2006) won as No. 2 seeds, while the Lobos also took the crown last year as the No. 3 seed. New Mexico is a perfect 4-0 when reaching the title game, while Utah is 2-3, winning in 2006 after falling to the Lobos in 2004 and 2005.
- Five MWC teams have reached the title game. BYU has made an appearance in the championship game in six of the eight years of the tournament. Utah and New Mexico have both advanced to the title game four times, while Colorado State and UNLV have each been once. BYU is also the only MWC team to have earned tournament wins over the other eight institutions.
- UNLV has advanced to the semifinals five of the last eight years, and made a championship appearance in 2002.
- San Diego State is looking for its first MWC Championship victory.