San Diego State’s women’s basketball program was legitimate then and now, but it’s laughable to compare the Aztecs serving as the host of an NCAA women’s basketball tournament this year to the teams to last compete at this level in 1994 and 1995.
“Then” was when Beth Burns’ SDSU teams played at Petersen Gym, a bandbox that was out of date the day it opened in 1961. In 1995, SDSU beat Hawaii in the first round and nearly upset Texas A&M in the second round before falling 75-72 in overtime.
“That was a home-court advantage,” said Burns, SDSU’s head coach then and now. “We’ve come a long way since then.”
“Now” is Cox Arena, a 12,000-seat facility that looks as good now as it did when it opened in 1997.
This year’s NCAA women’s sub-regional begins at 5 p.m. Saturday with 10th-seeded SDSU (23-7), the Mountain West Conference regular-season co-champion, facing and seventh-seeded DePaul (23-9), which tied for fourth in the Big East Conference.
In the 7:30 p.m. game, second-seeded Stanford (29-4), the Pac-10 regular season and tournament champion, faces 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara (22-9), the Big West Conference regular-season and tournament champion.