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Bulldog Women Face North Carolina In NCAA Tournament Saturday

March 15, 2010

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's back to Seattle for Gonzaga University's women's basketball team.

The Bulldogs, 27-4 overall and riding an 18-game winning streak, were rewarded for their season with a program-high seventh seed into the NCAA Tournament against No. 10 University of North Carolina (19-11) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PDT at Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus.

The second half of the Gonzaga pod has No. 2 seed and Big 12 Tournament champion Texas A&M (25-7, 10-6) facing No. 15 seed and Big Sky Conference Tournament champion Portland State University (18-14, 9-7). Texas A&M is ranked ninth nationally. Saturday's winners will play Monday in the second round and that winner will advance to the Sacramento Region.

Tickets will go on sale to current Bulldog Club members, Gonzaga basketball season ticket holders, athletic benefactors and students at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public at noon Tuesday.

Tickets are $21 per session. If Gonzaga plays in the Second Round Monday, ticket purchasers will be automatically billed another $21. Tickets will be sold over the phone only with a Visa or MasterCard by calling 509-313-6000 beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The Bulldogs will be making their second straight trip across the state for the NCAA Tournament, defeating Xavier University 74-59 for their inaugural NCAA Tournament victory and falling to the University of Pittsburgh 65-60 in the second round as the Bulldogs were a No. 12 seed last season.

Gonzaga's inaugural trip to the NCAA Tournament was 2007, also as a No. 12 seed.

Ranked 14th in the latest ESPN/USA Today poll released earlier Monday, the Bulldogs went 14-0 in winning a sixth straight West Coast Conference regular-season title, then captured the WCC Tournament for a second straight year and for the third time overall.

The Tar Heels are coached by Sylvia Hatchell in her 24th season at Chapel Hill. She has a UNC record of 559-213. Her career record spanning 35 seasons is 831-293.

UNC was 6-8 and tied for seventh with Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. The Tar Heels fell to the University of Maryland 83-77 in the first round of the ACC Tournament.

UNC played a post-tournament game, defeating the University of North Carolina Central 88-66 Sunday.

UNC junior guards Italee Lucas and Cetera DeGraffenreid were All-ACC selections this season. Lucas, who is sixth in the league in scoring with 14.8 ppg, was named to the second team, while DeGraffenreid, who is second in assists at 5.1 assists/game and leads the league in assist-turnover ratio at 1.5, was named to the third team.

Lucas, who has earned league honors for the first time, is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game. The Las Vegas, Nev., product is tied for fifth in the league in 3-pointers made at 1.9 with 52 in 28 games, seventh in free throw percentage (69-for-88 for 78.4 percent) and 11th in 3-point percentage (52-for-151 for 34.4 percent). One of the more explosive scorers in the ACC, Lucas has tallied 20 or more points in eight games.

DeGraffenreid, a repeat member of the third team, leads the Tar Heels in assists (5.0/game) and steals (3.2/game). A native of Cullowhee, N.C., DeGraffenreid is eighth in the league in scoring with 14.4 ppg and finished the regular season second in the ACC in assists, fourth in steals and first in assist-turnover ratio (1.5).