The Pacific-12 Conference is moving its women's basketball tournament to Seattle starting next year, a change that will force the league's premier schools Cal and Stanford to play twice in the same week during the regular season.
The schedule change is the result of playing the tournament a week before the men's championship in order to get the most national television exposure, commissioner Larry Scott said Monday.
The conference is expected to announce Tuesday the men's tournament will be moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas starting next season.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer called the change "less than ideal" in terms of playing the rival Bears twice in a week. Second-ranked Stanford (31-1) won the Pac-12 title with Cal (24-9) taking second.
The Bears took the Cardinal to overtime before losing in January in Maples Pavilion. But Stanford easily won the next two, including a 77-62 victory in the tournament final Saturday in Los Angeles.
"There are so many advantages of playing on our own stage a week before the men," VanDerveer added. "It's all good."
The Bay Area schools are not alone in having to face their rivals in one week. VanDerveer indicated all of the league's rival schools will have the same dilemma.
In a three-year deal, the Pac-12 joined with two-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm to bring the women's event to KeyArena. San Jose, which last played host to the tournament in 2008, also made a bid for the event.
The tournament had been held jointly with the men in Los Angeles for the past five years. But VanDerveer had been lobbying to move away from Southern California to a place that better supported women's basketball.
"We want a lot of buzz about the Pac-12," she said. "Having it the week before seems to work well."
Added Scott of the league's lack of national esteem: "We felt it had not gotten the recognition it deserves."
Conference officials hope the event will draw attention because of the Storm's deep relationship with women's basketball fans.
"Seattle will try to up the ante," VanDerveer said. "It will be great to be in a place that wants to grow" the women's game.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/elliottalmond.