March Madness is coming to an end.  As a proud sponsor of Pac-10 athletics, the employees and associates of World Financial Group have been cheering on all the Pac-10 teams in the various men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.  Of nine men’s teams that played in the post season, only one remains.  Among the women, one is in the Final Four and (as of this writing) another remains in the Elite Eight. 

Among the men’s teams, Arizona made it to the “Sweet Sixteen” portion of the NCAA tournament.  Being the lowest seed in the NCAA (12th) to advance, their first opponent was top seed Louisville and, unfortunately, the Wildcats found it impossible to advance past the Cardinals.  Louisville dominated the hardwood in a 103-64 win.  Wildcat forward Chase Budinger led their scoring drive with 22 points.  Forward Jordan Hill had the Wildcats only double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  Also scoring in double digits was guard Nic Wise with 14. 

In the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, the Oregon State Beavers won their first game in the best of three final against University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Monday night.  OSU center Roland Schaftenaar led the Beavers scoring drive with 19 points on their way to a 75-69 victory.  Three other OSU players scored in double digits: guard Lathen Wallace (18), forward Seth Tarver (17) and guard Rickey Claitt (13).   

Game two of the inaugural CBI saw a valiant but losing effort by the Beavers.  The UTEP Miners proved too powerful for OSU and handed them a 70-63 loss.  Leading scorers for OSU include Roland Schaftenaar (17) and Calvin Haynes (10).  The deciding game will air Friday on HDNet. 

The women’s NCAA tournament featured three teams from the WFG-sponsored Pac-10.  Stanford entered the “Sweet Sixteen” as the second seed in the Berkeley Regional.  And the Cardinals easily defeated Ohio State 84-66 in that game.  Senior center Jayne Appel had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.  Also joining Appel on the scoring parade were forward Jillian Harmon (16), forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike (15) and guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (10).  Guard Jeanette Pohlen contributed 10 rebounds in the win. 

The Cardinals moved on to the “Elite Eight” and faced Iowa State.  Once again, Jayne Appel dominated the hardwood with a 46 point(!) game, leading Stanford to a 74-53 win over the Cyclones.  Appel’s 46 points are a Stanford single game record and the third most points scored by a woman player in NCAA tournament history.  Jayne also led her team in rebounds with 16.  Also having a double digit day in rebounds was Jeanette Pohlen with 10.   

The Trenton Regional of the NCAA tourney featured two Pac-10 teams.  Arizona State first faced Texas A&M in the “Sweet Sixteen”.  The Sun Devils came into this game as the sixth seed facing the second seed Aggies.  But that didn’t matter as Arizona State played to an 84-69 win.  Leading the scoring for the red hot Sun Devils was guard Briann January with 22 points.  Her fellow guard Danielle Orsillo scored 15, while forward Lauren Lacey scored 14 off the bench.  

However, ASU’s “Elite Eight” opponent was top seed (and undefeated) Connecticut.   Connecticut first beat the California Golden Bears 77-53.  In the loss, Golden Bear forward Ashley Walker has 21 points.  Also scoring in double digits were guards Natasha Vital and Alexis Gray-Lawson with 10.  And Connecticut kept their undefeated momentum going.  The Huskies never trailed in their “Elite Eight” game on their way to an 83-64 win.  ASU guard Danielle Orsillo led all Sun Devil scoring with 18 points.  Fellow guard Briann January scored 12. 

So, among the WFG-sponsored Pac-10, only the Stanford team remains.  The Cardinals next game will be in the Final Four next Sunday (April 5) in St. Louis against Connecticut. 

The winner of that game will face the winner of Louisville/Oklahoma on April 7. In the Women’s NIT, Oregon State played New Mexico.  Senior guard Brittney Davis scored 19 points, but New Mexico won this game 61-56.  Also scoring in double digits was senior center Tiffany Ducker with 11. 

We at World Financial Group congratulate all our fine student athletes for a great season of basketball!

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