This Week in Pac-10 Women's Basketball

Jan. 30, 2006

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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
February
2 (Th)*USC at ARIZONA
, 7 p.m.
Series: 24-16 (USC) Last Meeting: 76-60 (USC)
*UCLA at ARIZONA STATE, 6:30 p.m. (KAZ-TV)
Series: 28-13 (UCLA) Last Meeting: 77-69 (UCLA)
*OREGON STATE at CALIFORNIA, 7 p.m.
Series: 20-19 (OSU) Last Meeting: 71-50 (CAL)
*OREGON at STANFORD, 7 p.m.
Series: 32-7 (STAN) Last Meeting: 76-64 (STAN)

4 (Sa)
*UCLA at ARIZONA
, 4 p.m.
Series: 22-17 (UCLA) Last Meeting: 84-77 (UCLA)
*USC at ARIZONA STATE, 12 Noon (FSN)
Series: 31-8 (USC) Last Meeting: 59-50 (USC)
*OREGON at CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.
Series: 29-11 (ORE) Last Meeting: 70-41 (ORE)
*OREGON STATE at STANFORD, 2 p.m.
Series: 34-6 (STAN) Last Meeting: 80-60 (STAN)

5 (Su)
*WASHINGTON ST. at WASHINGTON
, 1 p.m. (FSN)
Series: 37-2 (WASH) Last Meeting: 73-70 (WASH)

*Conference game
All times are local to site

CONFERENCE WEEKLY NOTES (1/30)

JOCKEYING FOR POSITION
: The race to crown the Pac-10 champion is heating up as the last four weeks of Conference play will determine who will take home the 2005-06 title, as well as how the Pac-10 Tournament will be seeded ... With a two-game lead, STANFORD sits alone atop the league with a 9-2 record, 14-5 overall ... Behind the Cardinal, four teams are tied for second place with 7-4 league records -- ARIZONA STATE (16-5), WASHINGTON (14-6), USC (13-7) and UCLA (12-8) ... In sixth place with a 6-5 record, CALIFORNIA (14-7) will look to better its position with a homestand at Haas Pavilion this weekend ... The seventh through 10th place league finishers will be seeded as such for the Tournament, and will play-in on Fri., March 3 (No. 7 vs. No. 10 and No. 8 vs. No. 9).

WHO'S GOT THE HOT HANDS: This week's look at who's hot: The Sun Devils' SR F Amy Denson has played an important role coming off the bench for most of the season, but has been especially dominant as of late, scoring in double figures in three of her last four games ... Denson has averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds dating back to Thurs., Jan. 19 ... Golden Bear FR G Alexis Gray-Lawson is making a bid for Freshman of the Year honors, playing in all 85 minutes last weekend, averaging 20.5 points, while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor ... WASHINGTON STATE SR F Keisha Moore shot over 60 percent from the floor last week, knocking down 14-of-23 shots to average 21 points and 10 rebounds in a split versus the Arizona schools ... UCLA JR G Noelle Quinn notched a season-high 25 points in back-to-back games as the Bruins secured a weekend sweep over 11/13 Stanford (90-80) and California (90-87 OT) ... Quinn has had three double-doubles in her last four games and has scored 20 points or more in four straight games and in five of her last six.

COACHING MILESTONES: Several Pac-10 head coaches are coming up on key victories in their careers ... Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer needs just four wins to earn her 500th victory at the helm of the Cardinal program ... She also needs just two more in the win column to earn career victory No. 650 ... Washington head coach June Daugherty needs just two victories to secure her 100th Pac-10 win, and just nine more to earn her career victory No. 300 ... With seven wins, UCLA's Kathy Olivier will own 200 wins as the Bruin head coach.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: According to the latest edition of the Collegiate Basketball News, seven Pac-10 squads are ranked in the Top-60 strength of schedule rankings ... UCLA leads the way at No. 16, with Arizona State and Stanford right behind at No. 24 and No. 26, respectively ... Also among the national leaders: USC (No. 32), California (No. 34), Washington (No. 52) and ARIZONA (No. 58) ... In RPI rankings, Sagarin ranks the Pac-10 at No. 4, while CBN places the Conference at No. 5.

DEFENSIVE STANCE: Looking at Conference defensive statistics from one year ago, teams have made drastic improvement in many areas, with tremendous focus placed on defending their opponents' basket ... OREGON STATE, ranked ninth in scoring defense at this point last season, while giving up nearly 70 points per game, now owns the second spot in the league, allowing just 60.1 ppg ... Washington, ranked dead-last in rebounding defense last season, has jumped to a tie for third place, with a 35.9 average ... California, also pulling up the Conference rear in field goal percentage defense in 2004-05, is currently in second place, as opponents are connecting on just 37.2 percent of their shots.

TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES (1/30)

ARIZONA (7-14, 3-8)
: Arizona suffered two losses on the road this past week, losing to Washington, 91-73, on Thurs., Jan. 26 and Washington State, 84-77, on Sat., Jan. 28 ... The Wildcats are 3-8 in the Pac-10, 7-14 overall ... UA had four players score in double-digits against UW, including sophomore guards Ashley Whisonant (14), Jessica Arnold (13), SR G Natalie Jones (11) and JR G Joy Hollingsworth (12) ... Jones went off for 28 points against the Cougars, shooting 8-for-15 from the floor and 11-for-12 from the line, while grabbing 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season ... Hollingsworth and Whisonant chipped in 15 apiece against WSU, as well ... With her 28 points on Saturday, Jones became just the 14th player in Wildcat history to surpass the 1,000 career-point plateau ... She now has 1,006 to date ... UA ranks second in the Conference in offensive rebounds, averaging 15.05 per contest, giving itself good second chance opportunities ... The team is also one of the better in the league from the line, shooting 70.4 percent, good enough to rank third.

ARIZONA STATE (16-5, 7-4): The No. 19/18 Arizona State squad put together a solid weekend, picking up two road wins in the Northwest, including a 75-65 win over Washington State on Thurs., Jan. 26, as well as a 67-61 win over Washington on Sat., Jan. 28 ... The win at Bank of America Arena was the first for ASU since the 1995-96 season ... With the two victories, Arizona State has jumped back into a tie for second place with a 7-4 league record, 16-5 overall ... SR F Amy Denson came off the bench to pace the Sun Devils in scoring in both wins over the Washington schools ... ASU held just a one-point advantage with just over three minutes remaining against the Huskies, but Denson stepped up by scoring six of ASU's final eight points to ensure the victory ... On the weekend, Denson shot 73.7 percent from the floor (14-of-19), while averaging 15.5 points and four rebounds ... The Sun Devils are such a deep squad, it is rare to find one player that dominates on the offensive end night after night ... The team has had scoring contributions from nine and 10 of its 11 players in the last two games, respectively ... ASU will host UCLA on Thurs., Feb. 2 and USC on Sat., Feb. 4, looking to avenge earlier first-round losses in Los Angeles.

CALIFORNIA (14-7, 6-5): California picked up a road split versus the LA schools, notching a 72-67 win over 23/25 USC on Fri., Jan. 27, before falling, 90-87, in overtime on Sun., Jan. 29 to UCLA ... The Bears are 14-7 overall, 6-5 in the Conference for possession of sixth place ... The Bears earned the season sweep over the Women of Troy for the first time since 1989-90, and only the third time in school history ... FR G Alexis Gray-Lawson averaged 20.5 points on the week, scoring a game-high 19 against USC ... In both games, Gray-Lawson shot 44.7 percent from the floor (17-of-38) and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc (5-of-12) ... FR C Devanei Hampton averaged 17.5 points on the weekend ... For at least the second time in the last three games, the Bears have struggled from the line, making just 57.7 percent of their free throws against the Bruins (15-of-26) ... The team began Conference play with a 65.9 percentage from the line (137-of-208) to rank seventh, but has lost a bit of rhythm, now shooting just 61.4 percent ... Cal has an important homestand this weekend as Oregon State comes to town on Thurs., Feb. 2, followed by a rematch with Oregon on Sat., Feb. 4 ... The Ducks are the only team in Conference to have beaten the Bears by more than 12 points.

OREGON (14-7, 4-6): Oregon lost a tough 63-61 battle to Oregon State in Corvallis in the first round of the basketball Civil War, but rebounded to claim a 54-45 victory over the Beavers on Sat., Jan. 28 ... SO C Gabrielle Richards was dominant in both contests, averaging 18 points and 15.5 rebounds on the week ... Her 18 rebounds were one-third of the team's 49 total boards on Saturday ... Richards, doing the dirty work down-low, has also been solid in making her free throws when fouled ... She leads the league with an 87.8 percentage from the charity stripe, having connected on 43-of-49 attempts this season ... The Ducks pace the Conference in scoring defense, as opponents are averaging just 56.5 points per game ... That No. 1 defense will meet up with the No. 1 offense this weekend as UO travels to the Bay Area to take on Stanford, averaging 79.6 ppg, on Thurs., Feb. 2, as well as California on Sat., Feb. 4 ... Oregon split the first series with the Bears and Cardinal, notching a 70-41 rout of Cal on Thurs., Jan. 5.

OREGON STATE (9-9, 3-7): Oregon State picked up the win in the first of two games with Oregon last week, earning the 63-61 victory in Gill Coliseum on Wed., Jan. 25, but fell 54-45 three days later in Eugene ... The Beavers are 9-9 overall, 3-7 in league play ... OSU has defeated Oregon three of the last four times the two have played in Corvallis ... SR F Kim Butler led the Beavers with 26 points on Wednesday and matched her career-best three steals ... On the week, Butler averaged 20 points, five rebounds and two steals ... SR G Mandy Close hit a running lay-up for the second straight game with time running out to pick up the two-point defeat of UO ... Close has played every minute of the past three games, one of which went into overtime, to tie for the lead in the Conference in minutes played (36.61) ... Also averaging 36.61 mpg is teammate SR G Anita Rivera ... Oregon State will take to the road this week, facing California on Thurs., Feb. 2, as well as Stanford on Sat., Feb. 4 ... The Beavers will be looking to avoid the season sweep against both teams, as they were defeated at home by the Cardinal, 80-60, and the Bears, 71-50.

STANFORD (14-5, 9-2): Stanford split its road series with the LA schools, getting defeated by UCLA, 90-80, on Fri., Jan. 27, but rebounded to pick up the 78-69 win over USC on Sun., Jan. 29 ... The Cardinal remain in first place in the Pac-10 with a 9-2 league record, 14-5 overall ... JR C Brooke Smith recorded her league-leading seventh double-double of the season with a 26-point, 17-rebound effort against the Bruins ... SO G Candice Wiggins also notched 26 points, in part from a 10-for-12 effort from the line ... FR G Rosalyn Gold-Onwude was 3-for-4 from downtown, recording a career-high 14 points in the victory over the Trojans on Sunday ... Wiggins, ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, led all players with 18 points, becoming just the 26th player in Stanford history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau ... Wiggins now has 1,017 points through 54 games played ... She is just shy of the school's fastest pace to get to the 1,000-point milestone as Jeanne Ruark Hoff took just 49 games ... The Cardinal is doing a solid job taking care of the ball, leading the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio at 1.18, while ranking fifth in the Conference in turnover margin at +1.89 ... Gold-Onwude continues to pace the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio at a 1.86 mark.

UCLA (12-8, 7-4): UCLA had a huge weekend in which it upset 11th-ranked Stanford on Fri., Jan. 27, 90-80, only to follow that up with a 90-87 overtime decision against a solid California team on Sun., Jan. 29 ... With the weekend sweep, the Bruins jump into a tie for second place in the Conference with a 7-4 record, but more importantly regain some of that lost confidence ... UCLA is 12-8 overall, taking to the road for an important series against Arizona State on Thurs., Feb. 2 and Arizona on Sat., Feb. 4 ... The Bruins swept both schools at Pauley Pavilion earlier this season ... With the two wins last weekend, UCLA is now 6-0 at home in Conference play ... JR G Noelle Quinn recorded a pair of double-doubles last weekend, putting up a season-high 25 points in back-to-back games, while grabbing 10 boards against Stanford and 11 against Cal ... With her fourth point against the Cardinal, Quinn became the 22nd player in Bruin history to record 1,000 career points ... She now has 1,046 to rank 21st on the all-time UCLA list ... Quinn ranks fifth in the league in scoring with a 17.3 average ... Teammate SR G Lisa Willis ranks second with a 17.9 ppg average, showing why the Bruins are No. 2 in the Pac-10 with a 79.6 scoring average ... Willis also leads the league in steals with a 3.6 average, while her five grabs last week bring her career total to 329.

USC (13-7, 7-4): USC lost two games at home last weekend, falling to California, 72-67, on Fri., Jan. 27, as well as Stanford, 78-69, on Sun., Jan. 29 ... The Women of Troy are tied for second place in the league with a 7-4 record, 13-7 overall ... A big weekend awaits the Trojans as they will take to the road to face Arizona on Thurs., Feb. 2 and Arizona State on Sat., Feb. 4 ... USC claimed both wins in first-round action against the Wildcats and Sun Devils ... JR G Shay Murphy put up solid numbers last weekend, averaging 16.5 points per game, recording a team-high 16 points against the Cardinal ... JR C Chloé Kerr was 8-for-14 from the floor for 18 points in the loss to the Bears ... Kerr also recorded two blocks and grabbed two steals in the game ... She ranks third in the league in swats, averaging 1.47 per game ... SO G Brynn Cameron, who has been hampered with a hip injury all season, re-aggravated the problem last week and is out indefinitely for the remainder of the season.

WASHINGTON (14-6, 7-4): Washington split its home series with the Arizona schools, picking up a 91-73 win over UA on Thurs., Jan. 26, before falling to 19/18 Arizona State on Sat., Jan. 28, 67-61 ... The Huskies are tied for second place in the Pac-10 with a 7-4 league record, 14-6 overall ... SR G Kristen O'Neill was UW's leading scorer off the bench in both games, averaging 17 points, 3.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, two assists and 2.5 rebounds, all the while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor (10-of-18) ... Her 19 points against Arizona was a season-high, matching her career-high with four 3-pointers made ... O'Neill has been strong as of late, reaching double figures in scoring five times in the last six games and three consecutive ... She is also a perfect 8-for-8 from the line in the last three games, and is 10-for-15 from long range ... With 11 and 10 points against UA and ASU respectively, SO F Andrea Plouffe has recorded four double-figure scoring outputs in as many games ... Against the Sun Devils, UW had four players in double figures, including O'Neill, Plouffe, JR G Cameo Hicks and JR F Breanne Watson ... Next up, the Huskies will take on Washington State on Sun., Feb. 5 at Bank of America Arena ... UW holds a 37-2 series advantage over the Cougars and has not lost to WSU since the 1992-93 season.

WASHINGTON STATE (7-13, 1-10): With an 84-77 win over Arizona on Sat., Jan. 28, Washington State halted a 12-game losing streak, picking up its first win in Conference play and improving its overall record to 7-13, 1-10 in the Pac-10 ... The seven wins are the most in a season since the 2000-01 squad captured 11 ... Among WSU's 13 losses this season, nine came in games decided by 10 points or less, as well as five contests in five points or less ... The Cougars were defeated by just 10 points, 75-65, by 19/18 Arizona State on Thurs., Jan. 26 ... SR F Keisha Moore and JR F Kate Benz combined for 52 points in the win over the Wildcats ... Both registered double-doubles as Moore scored a career-high 28 points, while pulling down 12 rebounds, and Benz recorded a career-high 24 points and added 11 rebounds ... Moore's point output was the most by a Cougar in two years almost to the day, as Bianca McCall notched 29 against Stanford on Jan., 31, 2004 ... For the week, Moore shot over 60 percent from the floor (14-of-23), averaging 21 points and 10 boards ... The Cougars will head over the pass to take on Washington on Sun., Feb. 5 in a televised contest on FSN ... In the first meeting of the pair this season, WSU was barely edged, 73-70.

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