This Week in Pac-10 Women's Basketball

Nov. 7, 2005

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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
November
7 (Mo) Team Concept at USC (X), 7 p.m. (Lyon Center)
9 (We) Eastern Washington at CALIFORNIA (1), 7 p.m.
11 (Fr) Fort Lewis College at ARIZONA (X), 7 p.m.
ARIZONA STATE vs. Vanderbilt (2), 8:30 p.m. (FSN)
St. Francis at OREGON (3), 7 p.m.
Western Oregon at OREGON STATE, 7 p.m.
Lewis-Clark State at WASHINGTON STATE (X), 7 p.m. (Bohler Gym)
12 (Sa) ARIZONA STATE vs. Missouri/Clemson (2), 4/6:30 p.m.
OREGON vs. Michigan or Temple (3), 5/7 p.m.
13 (Su) CALIFORNIA vs. Preseason NIT (1), TBA
Love & Basketball at STANFORD (X), 2 p.m.
Play Mode at UCLA (X), 2 p.m.

Tournaments/Neutral Sites
(X) Exhibition
(1) Preseason NIT
(2) WBCA/BTA Classic; Tempe, Ariz. (ARIZONA STATE, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Clemson)
(3) Women's Sports Foundation Classic; Eugene, Ore. (OREGON, St. Francis, Michigan, Temple)
All times are local to site.

UPCOMING TV GAMES
November
11 (Fr) ARIZONA STATE vs. Vanderbilt (2), 8:30 p.m. (FSN)
18 (Fr) UCLA at Baylor, 7 p.m. (FSN)
22 (Tu) UC Davis at CALIFORNIA, 7 p.m. (Comcast)
27 (Su) STANFORD at Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m. (FSN)

THIS WEEK IN THE POLLS
USA Today/ESPN/WBCA; AP (to be released 11/8)
ARIZONA - RV
ARIZONA STATE - 18
OREGON - RV
STANFORD - 10
UCLA - RV
USC - 22

NEWS AND NOTES

  • The 20th season of Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball officially tips off this week as CALIFORNIA opens the regular season against Eastern Washington in the Preseason WNIT on Wed., Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The start date marks the earliest in school history.

  • Also tipping on Fri., Nov. 11: ARIZONA STATE, as the Sun Devils take on Vanderbilt in the WBCA/BTA Classic, televised on FSN ... OREGON, hosting St. Francis in the Women's Sports Foundation Classic and OREGON STATE playing Western Oregon.

  • The polls are out and six Pac-10 squads are in the preseason Top-25 or received votes ... STANFORD, ranked 10th in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll garnered one first-place vote from the 31-member committee.

    Pac-10 Women's Basketball Satellite Feeds
    10 (Th) IA 6, Transponder 06C, Audio 6.2/6.8
    11 a.m.-12 p.m. PT/2 p.m.-3 p.m. ET
    Uplink Freq. 6045MHz, Downlink Freq. 3820MHz (H)

    17 (Th) IA 6, Transponder 11C, Audio 6.2/6.8
    10 a.m.-11 a.m. PT/1 p.m.-2 p.m. ET
    Uplink Freq. 6145MHz, Downlink Freq. 3920MHz (V)

    2005 TEAM-BY-TEAM SEASON OUTLOOKS

    ARIZONA: The Wildcats are coming off their third straight NCAA tournament appearance, having advanced to the second round of play for the first time since 1999. UA has two very capable players to run the point in sophomores Jessica Arnold and Ashley Whisonant, both of whom were honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman team picks a year ago. SR G Natalie Jones will have to shoulder much of the leadership responsibilities, as she is one of two seniors on the roster. The Cats have experience at the top working for them, having posted their third 20-win season in 2004-05, and eighth in the last 10 years.

    ARIZONA STATE: Logging one of the most successful seasons in program history, last year's Arizona State squad advanced to its first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 22 years, and finished 16th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. Hoping to pick up where they left off, the Sun Devils return three starters and six letterwinners, including first team All-Pac-10 selection, JR F Emily Westerberg, as well as SR F Kristen Kovesdy, who paced the Conference in field goal percentage (.617) last season. Returning to the court, following two missed seasons due to knee injuries, will be G Jill Noe, a 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection.

    CALIFORNIA: Taking over at the helm of the Cal program will be new head coach Joanne Boyle, who brings three consecutive 20-win seasons at Richmond and a wealth of knowledge to a promising Bear squad that will combine veteran players with a talented incoming freshman class. Boyle will have the services of five returning letterwinners (SO C Jessica Lawson is out for the season), including SR F Reneé Wright, who averaged 7.5 ppg last season. Rated by some publications as the seventh-best freshman class in the nation, high school teammates and McDonald's All-Americans, Devanei Hampton and Alexis Gray-Lawson, have big potential and big expectations.

    OREGON: A return to the NCAA tournament following a four-year absence will provide the perfect springboard for Oregon into the 2005-06 season. The Ducks are coming off their first NCAA tournament win since 1999 and are looking to capitalize on their 12-6 finish last year. UO will be guided by the return of 11 letterwinners, including SR G/F Brandi Davis, who averaged just over 10 ppg in Conference action in 2004-05. Joining her is SR G Chelsea Wagner, who was forced to sit out the majority of the Pac-10 season after tearing her ACL in mid-January. Also coming back from injury is SR F/G Kedzie Gunderson, who started 26 games in 2003-04, averaging 5.4 ppg and 3.4 rpg.

    OREGON STATE: Head coach LaVonda Wagner, who assumed the reigns at Oregon State over the off-season, was formerly an assistant at Duke where she helped the Blue Devils bring in three top-five recruiting classes and advance to the Elite Eight in all three of her seasons. The Beavers will need Wagner's winning experience to improve on their 6-23, 1-17 record last season. OSU will return seven letterwinners, including SR G Mandy Close (8.5 ppg) and SR F Kim Butler (10.1 ppg), two of their top three scorers from a year ago. JR G Casey (Bunn) Nash led the team in rebounding, averaging 5.0 boards per game.

    STANFORD: Coming off back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight, the Cardinal has some unfinished business to attend to this season. Although the team lost a stellar senior class, an experienced group of 10 total letterwinners returns, including SO G Candice Wiggins, Pac-10 Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Kodak All-American. With the honors, the San Diego native became the first freshman woman ever to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year. Wiggins (17.5 ppg) will be joined by JR C Brooke Smith (13.3 ppg), an All-Pac-10 selection who shot a Pac-10 second-best 61.0 percent from the field (seventh in the nation).

    UCLA: Loaded with experienced talent, UCLA looks to improve upon its 16-12, 10-8 record and sixth-place finish last season. The Bruins are among the favorites to win the 2006 Pac-10 title, with 12 of its 13 players and all five starters returning. JR G Noelle Quinn is 100 percent healthy, after missing the last 12 games of 2004-05 with a knee injury. The dynamic trio of SR G Nikki Blue, SR G Lisa Willis and Quinn are all First Team All-Pac-10 selections (Quinn in '04) and will provide much of the Bruin leadership. The silver lining could emerge this season as reserves saw much more playing time than they would otherwise, including SO G Lauren Pedersen, who earned 11 starts in 2004-05.

    USC: The surprise darlings of the Pac-10 last season, USC nearly handed eventual national finalist Michigan State an early exit in NCAA second round play. With 10 of 12 letterwinners returning, the Women of Troy should challenge for the Pac-10 title in 2006. The team will be led by the services of SR G Meghan Gnekow, a 2005 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, who averaged 5.8 rpg, eighth in the Pac-10, and paced the league with 2.97 offensive boards per contest. SO G Brynn Cameron (9.8 ppg) was a 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection, while SO G Camille LeNoir (8.7 ppg) garnered honorable mention status.

    WASHINGTON: For the first time in three years, Washington's roster features more upperclassmen (10) than lowerclassmen (5). The Huskies finished last season on a high note, winning five of their last seven games. Senior guards Kayla Burt (9.6 ppg) and Kristen O'Neill (9.5 ppg) should make even greater impacts this season, both coming off productive junior campaigns that immediately followed injuries. Returning stalwarts JR F Jill Bell (5.2 rpg) and JR G Cameo Hicks (9.5 ppg) should pick up right where they left off last season. Bell led the team with 31 blocked shots and both were named All-Pac-10 honorable mention selections.

    WASHINGTON STATE: Nine letterwinners, including the team's top four scorers, return for head coach Sherri Murrell's fourth season at the helm, as she continues a steady rebuild of the Cougar program. Watching the rapid development of JR F Kate Benz (10.4 ppg), the 2005 Pac-10 rebounding champion, has been a bright spot. That should be multiplied in the two-time All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection's junior campaign. Rounding out the quartlet of starters who return are JR G Adriane Ferguson, SR G Charmaine Jones and SR C Keisha Moore. Ferguson finished second on the squad last year with 9.5 ppg, and paced the Cougars with 40 three-pointers. Jones added 9.3 ppg, 64 assists and 38 steals.

    PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA/ALL PAC-10 TEAMS/LISTS

    STATE FARM WADE TROPHY
    Preseason Candidates (30)
    Nikki Blue, UCLA
    Shawntinice Polk, ARIZ
    Candice Wiggins, STAN

    WOODEN AWARD
    Preseason All-America Team (30)
    Nikki Blue, UCLA
    Shawntinice Polk, ARIZ
    Noelle Quinn, UCLA
    Candice Wiggins, STAN

    STREET & SMITH TERRIFIC 10
    Preseason All-America Team
    Candice Wiggins, STAN

    WOMEN'S BASKETBALL NEWS SERVICE
    Preseason All-America Team
    Nikki Blue, UCLA, First Team
    Candice Wiggins, STAN, First Team
    Noelle Quinn, UCLA, Third Team

    PRESEASON ALL-PAC-10 TEAM
    As selected by media
    Nikki Blue, UCLA
    Noelle Quinn, UCLA
    Brooke Smith, STAN
    Emily Westerberg, ASU
    Candice Wiggins, STAN

    NCAA COMMITTEE CONTACT
    Washington Associate Athletic Director Marie Tuite is currently in her fourth year as a member of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee. The 10-member committee selects and seeds the 64-team field NCAA Tournament. Media members wishing to speak with Tuite should contact Erin Rowley in the University of Washington Media Relations Office at 206-543-2230.

    PAC-10 MEDIA SERVICES: All Pac-10 press releases can be found online by accessing www.pac-10.org. Statistical information and standings are also available on the site, as well as Pac-10 Player of the Week and 2006 Pac-10 Tournament information.

    WEEKLY E-MAIL LIST: If you would like to receive the weekly Pac-10 women's basketball release via e-mail, provide Bri Niemi [bniemi@pac-10.org] of the Pac-10 office with your e-mail address.

    ONLINE COLUMNS: Visit www.pac-10.org for weekly columns on Pac-10 women's basketball by long-time women's basketball writer Dick Rockne of the Seattle-Post Intelligencer and Fox Sports Net color analyst Mary Murphy. The weekly online column is posted every Wednesday afternoon, beginning Dec. 21, 2005, and resuming Jan. 4 through Mar. 1, 2006.

    2006 STATE FARM PAC-10 TOURNAMENT
    Mar. 3-6, 2006 • HP Pavilion at San Jose
    The fifth annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament returns to the San Francisco Bay Area, March 3-6, 2006, at HP Pavilion at San Jose.

    Fans can purchase tickets by calling Ticketmaster at (408) 998-8497 or their local Ticketmaster charge by phone number. Online purchases may be made by logging on to www.pac-10.org or www.Ticketmaster.com. In addition, tickets may be purchased through the Conference's 10 member institutions' ticket offices. The cost of all-session ticket booklets is $85 each, plus handling.

    The State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament made its debut in 2002 and was held on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Ore. The Conference's premier women's sporting event moved to its current home, HP Pavilion at San Jose, in 2003. The winner of the 10-team tournament receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. The tournament seeds and Conference Champion are determined by the 18-game regular-season Pac-10 schedule.

    Fri., Mar. 3
    Game 1: No. 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Seed, 6 p.m.
    Game 2: No. 8 Seed vs. No. 9 Seed, 8:15 p.m.

    Sat., Mar. 4
    Game 3: No. 3 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed, 11 a.m.
    Game 4: No. 2 Seed vs. Winner 7/10, 1:15 p.m.
    Game 5: No. 1 Seed vs. Winner 8/9, 5 p.m.
    Game 6: No. 4 Seed vs. No. 5 Seed, 7:15 p.m.

    Sun., Mar. 5
    Game 7: Game 3 win vs. Game 4 win, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)
    Game 8: Game 5 win vs. Game 6 win, 5:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)

    Mon., Mar. 6
    Game 9: Championship Game, 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)
    TICKETS: www.pac-10.org • www.ticketmaster.com • (408) 998-8497
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