This Week in Pac-10 Women's Basketball

Dec. 19, 2005

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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
December
19 (Mo)
ARIZONA at UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.
Texas-San Antonio at ARIZONA STATE, 6:30 p.m.

20 (Tu)
*OREGON STATE at USC, 1 p.m.
Series: 26-13 (USC)
Last Meeting: 69-59 (USC)

*OREGON at UCLA, 7 p.m. (OSN)
Series: 20-19 (ORE)
Last Meeting: 78-71 (ORE)

*CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON, 7 p.m.
Series: 32-6 (WASH)
Last Meeting: 80-76 (WASH)

*STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE, 7 p.m.
Series: 38-0 (STAN)
Last Meeting: 69-56 (STAN)

22 (Th)
*ARIZONA STATE at ARIZONA, 7 p.m.
Series: 23-15 (ARIZ)
Last Meeting: 56-49 (ARIZ)

*OREGON at USC, 1 p.m.
Series: 23-15 (USC)
Last Meeting: 81-59 (ORE)

*OREGON STATE at UCLA, 7 p.m.
Series: 24-14 (UCLA)
Last Meeting: 74-54 (UCLA)

*CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON STATE, 6 p.m.
Series: 20-19 (CAL)
Last Meeting: 70-52 (CAL)

*STANFORD at WASHINGTON, 7 p.m.
Series: 28-11 (STAN)
Last Meeting: 82-60 (STAN)

*conference game
All times are local to site.

THIS WEEK IN THE POLLS
AP (12/19); USA Today/ESPN/WBCA (12/13)
ARIZONA - --/RV
ARIZONA STATE - 12/10
CALIFORNIA - RV/--
OREGON - RV/--
STANFORD - 10/11
UCLA - RV/24
USC - RV/25
WASHINGTON - --/RV

CONFERENCE WEEKLY NOTES (12/19)

LEAGUE TIP-OFF: Let the Pac-10 games begin ... Following ARIZONA and ARIZONA STATE's non-conference games on Mon., Dec. 19 with UC Santa Barbara and Texas-San Antonio, respectively, the first round of Conference games officially tip-off on Tues., Dec. 20 ... The race to crown the Pac-10 champion figures to be a highly competitive one this season, as the 18 games in Conference are expected to go down to the wire ... Along with the regular season, there is also a Tournament title up for grabs come the first week of March that all 10 squads will vye for.

CONFERENCE COMMAND: With all 10 teams sitting at or above the .500 plateau, the Pac-10 Conference is the only league among the 'big six' (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC) that can claim non-losing records for each of its squads ... As a whole, the league boasts a 63-22 (.741) record against other conferences.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Through seven weeks of both national polls (Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN/WBCA), both pre- and regular season, eight of 10 Pac-10 teams have either been ranked or have earned votes ... Arizona State, STANFORD and USC have all remained in the Top-25 since the 2005-06 polls debuted, while UCLA has also been catching the voters' eye ... Arizona, OREGON and WASHINGTON have each received votes this season and are looking to break into the Top-25 positions ... CALIFORNIA earned two votes in the Dec. 19 AP poll.

CRACKING THE TOP-10: Arizona State's current No. 10 ranking (USA Today/ESPN/WBCA) marks the first time in 22 years that the Sun Devils have cracked the Top-10 of either of the two major polls ... The last time ASU was ranked in the Top-10 was when it was ranked 10th in the Jan. 22, 1983 AP poll ... With the Sun Devils leap-frogging Stanford for a higher position in the Dec. 13 coaches' Top-25 rankings, it marked the first time since the April 2, 2001 poll that a team other than Stanford was the highest-ranked Pac-10 squad, according to the 31-coach committee.

WHO'S GOT THE HOT HANDS: This week's look at who's hot: UCLA SR G Lisa Willis scored her Pac-10 leading sixth 20-point game against UCSB on Sat., Dec. 17, dropping 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 4-of-8 from downtown ... Willis leads the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 20.3 ppg ... Oregon JR C Carolyn Ganes averaged 20.5 ppg last week, putting up 26 against Idaho State on Thurs., Dec. 15 ... Ganes also hit a game-winning 3-pointer with no time remaining on the clock, guiding UO to the 68-67 win over Saint Mary's (Calif.) on Mon., Dec. 12 ... OREGON STATE SR G Anita Rivera averaged 17.5 ppg in two Beaver victories last week ... Rivera, who went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe last week, has scored in double figures in all seven OSU games this season.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: While the Pac-10 had one of its strongest years in recent memory in 2004-05, four league teams have made dramatic improvements in the span of one year ... 365 days ago, California, Oregon State, Washington and WASHINGTON STATE had a combined 17 losses, and only 16 wins ... One year later, the quartet has almost doubled its win total (27), while only amassing seven losses through 34 games played ... What's more is that those four teams currently sit at third (OSU), fourth (CAL), fifth (WASH) and sixth (WSU) in the Conference ... Both coaches and media preseason polls had all four teams finishing in the bottom half of the league.

TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES (12/19)

ARIZONA (4-4, 0-0): Arizona dropped its Sat., Dec. 17 contest with Fresno State, 81-70, to now own a 4-4 overall record on the year ... UA's trio of guards - SR Natalie Jones, SO Ashley Whisonant and JR Joy Hollingsworth - again proved to be the Wildcats' source of offense ... All three scored in double figures for the eighth time in as many Arizona games ... Jones went 4-for-15 for 13 points, while both Whisonant (6-for-11) and Hollingsworth (6-for-14) scored 14 and each added five assists ... All three rank in the Top-10 in the Conference in scoring, as Jones is fifth (17.3 ppg), Hollingsworth is ninth (15.0 ppg) and Whisonant caps off the group at No. 10 (14.9 ppg) ... The `Cats pace the Pac-10 in turnover margin at +6.50 per game ... Next up, the team will take on UC Santa Barbara on Mon., Dec. 19 in non-conference action ... The Gauchos are coming off a 90-81 upset over No. 24 UCLA last week ... UA will then take on traditional rival, Arizona State on Thurs., Dec. 22 in Tucson ... Last year the two teams split the series, both teams winning at home ... Most recently, UA picked up a 56-49 win over the Sun Devils.

ARIZONA STATE (8-1, 0-0): Arizona State, riding a five-game winning streak, notched a 68-52 road win over Fresno State on Thurs., Dec. 15 to improve to 8-1 on the year ... The Sun Devils have a Mon., Dec. 19 contest with non-conference foe, Texas-San Antonio, tip-off at 6:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena ... A win over the Roadrunners tonight would give Arizona State its best start (9-1) under head coach Charli Turner Thorne ... ASU will open its Pac-10 season with a game against Arizona on Thurs., Dec. 22 ... The first round of the duel in the desert will take place in Tucson ... Arizona State is currently ranked 12th in the AP poll, as well as No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll, the first time in 22 years that the Sun Devils have cracked the Top-10 of either of the two major polls ... JR F Emily Westerberg scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half against FSU ... SR F Amy Denson added 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 24 minutes off the bench ... With seven points in the ASU win last week, SR F/C Kristen Kovesdy moved into sole possession of 10th place on the school's all-time scoring list (1,072) ... Arizona State is doing a multitude of things well as it leads the league in the following four categories: free throw percentages (.760), field goal percentages (.492), rebounding defense (28.8) and assists (20.00) ... According to last week's national rankings, the Sun Devils also rank in the Top-10 in the nation in field goal percentage and assists per game.

CALIFORNIA (8-2, 0-0): California, despite the week off for finals, received two votes in the Dec. 19 AP poll, recognizing the team's success through its first 10 games of the season ... The Golden Bears are 8-2 and in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-10 headed into league play ... The team will travel north to take on Washington on Tues., Dec. 20, as well as Washington State on Thurs., Dec. 22 ... Cal is riding a four-game winning streak, hoping to capitalize on the momentum carrying it into the first-round games ... The last time Cal won a Pac-10 season opener was in 2003 when the Bears defeated then-No. 22 Oregon, 61-57, Dec. 27 in Berkeley ... FR F Shantrell Sneed has missed the last four games with a knee sprain but could be available, if needed, this week ... FR G Alexis Gray-Lawson scored a career-high 23 points against South Carolina State on Sat., Dec. 10, and is averaging 20.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 6.0 apg over the last two games ... Gray-Lawson is ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in assists, averaging 3.80 per game.

OREGON (8-1, 0-0): The Ducks left their home state for the first time all season, but didn't let the travel bother them, picking up a 68-67 buzzer-beater over Saint Mary's (Calif.) on Thurs., Dec. 12 and a 20-point rout of Idaho State on Thurs., Dec. 15, 89-69 ... Oregon is tied for first in the Conference with Arizona State, both squads owning an 8-1 record ... JR C Carolyn Ganes led the team with averages of 20.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg last week ... She hit a game-winning 3-pointer with no time remaining on the clock to give Oregon the one-point victory and its seventh win on the season ... Ganes also scored a career-high 26 points in the win at Idaho state, while also setting career-highs in the following categories: assists (4), blocks (2), field goals made (11) and attempted (23) ... SR G Chelsea Wagner also set a career-high four blocks against the Bengals ... With four 3-pointers made, Wagner moved into sixth place on the Ducks' all-time 3-point field goals list ... As of last week's NCAA rankings, UO was second in the nation in scoring defense ... The Ducks lead the Pac-10 with a 48.7 mark, having given up only 438 points all year ... Oregon will head south this week for a matchup with UCLA on Tues., Dec. 20, televised on OSN, followed by a Thurs., Dec. 22 contest with USC ... In the previous meetings with both squads, UO came away with two wins.

OREGON STATE (6-1, 0-0): First-year head coach LaVonda Wagner has to be pleased with the way her squad has performed in non-conference action thus far ... The Beavers picked up two wins last week, including an 87-58 defeat of Portland State on Tues., Dec. 13 and a 66-29 blowout of South Alabama on Sat., Dec. 17 to improve to 6-1 on the season ... SR F Kim Butler hit 15-of-21 field goals for a career-high, as well as Pac-10 season-high 31 points ... Butler shot 70 percent from the field on the week, notching her seventh double figure scoring output in as many Beaver games this season ... Butler ranks second in the Conference with an 18.6 ppg average ... After averaging just 4.7 ppg last season, SR G Anita Rivera also has double-digit scoring in every OSU game in 2005-06 ... With one more win, Oregon State will surpass its win total from last season (6) ... The Beavers have only given up a league-leading 22 3-point field goals in 107 attempts (.206) ... Another sign of improvement in Wagner's squad: sharing the ball ... The team ranks third in the Pac-10 in assists (122) for more than a 17 apg average, after ranking dead-last in the league at this time last year (11.88 apg) ... The Beavers will take to the road to face USC on Tues., Dec. 20, as well as UCLA on Thurs., Dec. 22.

STANFORD (5-2, 0-0): Stanford picked up an 83-53, 30-point rout of Rice on Sat., Dec. 17 at Maples Pavilion to improve to 5-2 on the year ... SO G Candice Wiggins scored a game-high 19 points, knocking down four 3-pointers ... JR C Brooke Smith picked up her first double-double of the season with a 12-point, 12-board effort ... With JR C Kristen Newlin out with a stress reaction in her left femur, FR F Jillian Harmon was reintroduced to the starting lineup, after having come off the bench the previous two games ... Harmon totaled 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while picking up six rebounds and three blocks, as well ... Newlin is not likely for this week's Pac-10 opener, but will be evaluated week-to-week ... SR G Krista Rappahahn paces the Pac-10 in 3-point field goal percentage (.533) ... Stanford will play at Washington State on Tues., Dec. 20, followed by a matchup with Washington on Thurs., Dec. 22 ... The Cardinal have never lost to WSU in the 38-game series history, while they hold a 28-11 series edge against Washington.

UCLA (5-4, 0-0): Twenty-fourth ranked UCLA was surprised with a 90-81 overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara on Sat., Dec. 17 ... With the defeat, the Bruins are now 5-4 heading into Pac-10 play ... SR G Lisa Willis led all players with 28 points, her second-highest scoring output of the season and sixth 20-point game this year ... Her four 3-pointers moved her into a tie for fifth place on the Pac-10 career charts for 3-point field goals made (208) ... Willis also racked up three steals, moving her into the No. 4 position on the Conference all-time charts (286) ... SR G Nikki Blue's 13 points against UCSB also moved her to No. 33 on the Pac-10's list for career points (1,519) ... UCLA is averaging over 80 points per game, leading the league at 82.8 ... JR G Noelle Quinn is fourth in the Conference with a 17.7 scoring average ... Next up, the Bruins will take on Oregon on Tues., Dec. 20 and Oregon State on Thurs., Dec. 22 ... Both games will be played at Pauley Pavilion and Tuesday's action will be aired on OSN.

USC (6-3, 0-0): USC finished just six points shy of the century mark, en route to a 94-54 drubbing of Cal State Fullerton on Fri., Dec. 16 ... With the win, the Women of Troy improve to 6-3 on the year, having won four of their last five games ... JR C Chloé Kerr scored the first eight points for USC to get the Trojans in control in Friday night's win ... She finished with a career-high 18 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the floor ... The .900 single-game shooting percentage was the best mark since 1987, tying Kerr for the fifth-best shooting percentage in USC history ... SR G Meghan Gnekow scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to earn her first double-double of the season ... JR F Shay Murphy scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while knocking down 5-of-5 from the charity stripe ... USC is outrebounding its opponents by almost a six-board advantage each game (+5.9), good enough to rank fourth in the league ... Against Cal State Fullerton, the Women of Troy pulled down 55 boards, including 20 offensive, to the Titan's 27 ... The Trojans will play their fourth home game in a row, taking on Oregon State on Tues., Dec. 20 to open the Pac-10 season ... USC will also play Oregon on Thurs., Dec. 22 in Los Angeles.

WASHINGTON (7-2, 0-0): Washington took care of in-state foe, Eastern Washington, 68-57, on Mon., Dec. 12 to improve to 7-2 on the year ... The Huskies sit in fifth place in the Pac-10 with Conference play just around the corner ... JR G Cameo Hicks recorded team-highs in points (16), rebounds (8 - tied with SO G Emily Florence) and steals (3 - tied with SR G Kristen O'Neill) in the UW victory ... Hicks' performance was her seventh double-figure scoring game in nine outings this year ... She has also reached double digits in 19 of her last 23 games dating back to last season ... This season alone, Hicks has held at least a share of the team's lead in scoring in seven games and five times in rebounding ... Three Huskies - SO F Andrea Plouffe, Florence and SO G Dominique Banks each scored 10 additional points apiece in Monday night's win ... Continuing with a great tradition of three-point threats, Washington is showing deadly signs from downtown this season, second in the Conference, averaging 6.56 treys per game ... SR G Kayla Burt leads the team with 14 three's on the year ... UW will host California on Tues., Dec. 20 and Stanford on Thurs., Dec. 22 in Pac-10 action ... The Huskies lead the series with Cal by a 32-6 advantage.

WASHINGTON STATE (6-2, 0-0): Washington State was idle last week for finals, but returns to the court for Pac-10 competition this week ... The Cougars, 6-2 overall this season, take on Stanford on Tues., Dec. 20, followed by a Thurs., Dec. 22 contest with California ... The last time the Bears visited Pullman, WSU came away with a 79-69 win ... The Cougs will be looking for their first-ever win over Stanford, as the Cardinal own a 38-0 advantage ... Washington State leads the league in rebounding margin (+8.6) and rebounding offense (46.2), while the team also ranks second in both offensive rebounds (17.00) and defensive rebounds (29.25) ... SR G Charmaine Jones is second in the Conference in free throw percentage (.891), having knocked down 41 of her 46 attempts this season ... SR F Keisha Moore ranks 10th in the league in blocked shots, averaging 1.17 per contest ... JR F Kate Benz heads into league play averaging 12.3 boards per contest, good enough to pace the Pac-10 ... Benz also leads the Conference in both offensive (3.75) and defensive (8.50) rebounds.

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