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Women's Basketball Begins Pac-10 Tourney with NCAA bid in sight

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For LaVonda Wagner and the Oregon State Women's Basketball team, two wins in the Pac-10 tournament could mean a berth to the 2009 NCAA Women's Baksetball tournament. Wagner has coached in the NCAA Final Four, two NCAA Elite Eight games, and two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances-- but hasn't reached the tournament in her tenure as head coach at Oregon State.

The Lady Beavers will take on UCLA tonight at the Galen Center, a team the Beavers beat last Saturday to clinch the No. 5 seed in the Pac-10 conference. Both UCLA and Oregon State have gone 9-9 in conference play, tying for fourth in the conference, but UCLA holds the tiebreaker in the tournament seeding due to a victory over California earlier in the season. 

For the second time in the eight year history of the Pac-10 tournament, the Beavers will be the fifth seed. The first time came in 2002-03, the  first year of the tournament. That year, OSU  opened by defeating USC before losing to No. 1 Stanford.

Overall, the Beavers are 4-7 in the Pac-10 Tournament entering this season. Last year, Oregon State was the No. 8 seed and defeated No. 9 Arizona before losing to No. 1 Stanford.

If the Beavers can get by UCLA tonight, they'll move on to play either No. 1 seeded Stanford or No. 9 seeded Arizona on Saturday night. So getting two wins in the tournament is a tall order for the team, but they've shown that they are fully capable of playing with a team like Stanford or California earlier in the season. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:15 at the Galen Center. The game will be broadcast live on the Pac-10 website if you're wanting to watch the game, and Todd Mansfield will have the radio call that will be available on the Oregon State website.

Look for an open thread later today.

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)