2006-07 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Wrap-Up
April 10, 2007
*Stanford claimed the 2006-07 Pac-10 championship and 2007 Pac-10 Tournament title
1. Stanford, 17-1, .944; 29-5, .8532. Arizona State, 16-2, .889; 31-5, .8613. California, 12-6, .667; 23-9, .7194. Washington, 11-7, .611; 18-13, .5815. USC, 10-8, .556; 17-13, .5676. Oregon, 8-10, .444; 17-14, .5487. UCLA, 7-11, .389; 14-18, .4388. Arizona, 4-14, .222; 11-21, .344 Oregon State, 4-14, .222; 9-19, .32110.Washington State, 1-17, .056; 5-24, .172
FIVE PAC-10 TEAMS ADVANCE TO POSTSEASON PLAY
Conference sends four teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament
For the third consecutive season, the Pac-10 sent at least four teams to the NCAA Tournament, and had a team reach the Elite Eight for the fourth time in as many years. The 2006-07 season was a successful one for the league as a whole as a total of five teams earned postseason berths, while the Conference landed one player to the Kodak All-America Team and five others garnered honorable mention status.
The STANFORD Cardinal finished with a 17-1 league record, just ahead of second-place ARIZONA STATE (16-2) to grab its seventh consecutive Pac-10 championship. Stanford and Arizona State competed in the championship game of the 2007 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament with the Cardinal earning their fourth crown in six tournaments.
Arizona State, CALIFORNIA, Stanford and WASHINGTON received NCAA Tournament bids. For the 14th time in league history, a Conference team advanced to the Elite Eight as the Sun Devils fell to eventual national runner-up Rutgers, 64-45 in the Greensboro Regional final. Arizona State's NCAA Tournament run included an 18-point, convincing win over seventh-seeded Bowling Green, 67-49, in the Sweet 16. Stanford earned a 96-58 win over Idaho State in the first round, but could not surpass Florida State in the round of 32, dropping a 68-61 decision. California made its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, playing No. 9 Notre Dame to a heart-breaking 62-59 loss. Washington rounded out the Pac-10 contingent in postseason play, as the Huskies took on No. 6 Iowa State in the first round, losing the 79-60 contest.
OREGON opened play in the WNIT postseason with a 70-54 victory over Santa Clara, but lost in the third round to eventual champion, Wyoming, 64-62.
Two Pac-10 teams closed out the season ranked among the Top-25 in the final USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll as Arizona State finished at No. 8 and Stanford at No. 16. California and Washington received votes.
FOUR TEAMS SENT TO NCAAs
For the third straight season, at least four Pac-10 teams were sent 'dancing,' as announced by the NCAA on ESPN's selection show ... STANFORD earned the league's automatic berth with its win in the 2007 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament ... ARIZONA STATE earned a No. 3 seed, its highest in program history ... Two Pac-10 teams played in the Dallas portion of the bracket, No. 8 CALIFORNIA and No. 11 WASHINGTON ... The Pac-10 has sent at least four teams to the NCAA Tournament for three consecutive seasons, including last year's history-making six-team tournament and 2005's five-team tournament.
PAC-10 vs. NON-CONFERENCE FOES
The Pac-10 was impressive against non-conference foes in 2006-07, amassing a 70-37 (.654) record during regular season play ... The last time the Conference picked up 70 wins outside of league action was 1994-95 when it earned an almost identical record at 70-34 (.673) and Stanford advanced to the Final Four ... The Pac-10 has only surpassed the 70-non-conference regular season win plateau five times in its history, also including the 1986-87, 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
2007 STATE FARM PAC-10 TOURNAMENT
Stanford picked up its fourth Pac-10 Tournament title in the six-year history of the event, knocking off No. 2-seeded Arizona State on Mon., Mar. 5, 62-55 ... The Cardinal claimed three wins in three days, helped by the return of JR G Candice Wiggins who was virtually unstoppable, securing a 29-point semifinal outing, which included a Pac-10 record eight three-pointers made ... Wiggins was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates SR F/C Brooke Smith and FR F/C Jayne Appel ... The Sun Devils claimed two wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds ... SR F Emily Westerberg was also named to the All-Tournament team ... Team records set in this year's tournament included: fewest field goals allowed in a tournament (ARIZONA, 99), highest three-point field goal percentage in a game (Stanford, .714), fewest free throws allowed in a tournament (California, 11) and fewest offensive rebounds allowed in a tournament (California, 20) ... Individual records set in this year's tournament included: most three-point field goals made in a tournament (Wiggins, 14), most three-point field goals attempted in a tournament (Wiggins, 25) and most offensive rebounds in a game (Appel, 8).
The Pac-10 was hit hard by the injury bug in 2006-07, especially by the ACL tear to the crucial point guard position ... Three starting point guards went down with the injury during the season, including California SO Alexis Gray-Lawson, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2005-06, FR JJ Hones of Stanford, who had taken over for SO Rosalyn Gold-Onwude who suffered the tear in the off-season, as well as ASU FR Dymond Simon ... Gold-Onwude was joined on the sidelines by incoming USC FR standout Jacki Gemelos who was forced to redshirt the year ... The Women of Troy also had contributors JR G Camille LeNoir, SR C Markisha Lea and JR G Brynn Cameron out for the duration of the year, as well as a handful of other players who missed games ... It wasn't just the perimeter players who went down with injuries ... OREGON SR F Jessie Shetters sat out much of the Conference season of her senior campaign, as well as bigs from Arizona, including JR C Beatrice Bofia and FR F Rheya Neabors and WASHINGTON STATE F Kate Benz who managed to play, but could not put up her normal numbers due to a back injury.
FINAL TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
ARIZONA (11-21, 4-14)
Arizona picked up 11 wins, four of which came in Pac-10 games, to finish tied for eighth in the final league standings ... UA played one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2006-07, finishing the year with the 41st strongest schedule, according to Collegiate Basketball News ... The team also had a final RPI of 94, as ranked by Jeff Sagarin ... The good news is that the Wildcats have a roster full of returning players, the bad news is that they must find an answer for SR G Joy Hollingsworth, who led the team and ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring with a 16.2 points per game average ... Hollingsworth was also second in the Conference in steals (2.13) and could hit from anywhere beyond the arc, as she ranked third in three point field goals made with a 1.97 average ... Look for the Wildcats to bounce back from injuries that depleted depth amongst their post players this season, with renewed energy and strength ... Junior guards Ashley Whisonant and Jessica Arnold will play important leadership roles in guiding next year's team.
ARIZONA STATE (31-5, 16-2)
It was a year of firsts for Arizona State, as it recorded its best season in program history ... The Sun Devils led the pack in postseason play as they advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time ever, finishing one win shy of the NCAA's Final Four ... The Sun Devils earned a 31-5 overall mark and a 16-2 league finish to set school records for most wins (overall and Conference) in a season ... Arizona State became just the second school in Pac-10 history to eclipse the 30-win plateau ... Stanford has accomplished the feat six times, and most recently in 2004-05 (32) ... The Sun Devils had never posted more than 25 wins in a season ... ASU faced eventual national runner-up Rutgers in the Greensboro Regional final, falling 64-45 to end its season ... SO G Briann January, fresh off a head injury that kept her out of the previous game, scored 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting to lead all Sun Devil scorers ... She also dished out three assists and committed zero turnovers ... Senior forwards Emily Westerberg and Aubree Johnson were both named to the All-Pac-10 team, Westerberg becoming the first Sun Devil ever to earn her right on the team three times in a career ... Head coach Charli Turner Thorne earned career win No. 200 in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals, bolstering her career winning percentage to .602 (203-134) ... Turner Thorne, the winningest coach in ASU history, ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in career wins ... Arizona State loses Westerberg and Johnson to graduation, but returns the remainder of the team, while gaining a strong freshman class and two junior transfers who had to sit out last season - C Sybil Dosty and F/C Lauren Lacey.
CALIFORNIA (23-9, 12-6)
California had another strong season as it surpassed the 20-win plateau for just the third time in school history and the first since the 1991-92 season ... Head coach Joanne Boyle guided her squad to a 23-9 finish, 12-6 in league play, a berth in the Pac-10 semifinals, as well as its second NCAA Tournament bid in as many years ... The Bears earned an eight seed and traveled to face the ninth-seeded Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, finishing just three points shy in the 62-59 first round loss ... SO F/C Ashley Walker earned her Conference-leading 12th double-double of the season with 20 points, helped by a 10-for-12 mark from the charity stripe, to go along with 13 rebounds, six of which were offensive ... California earned awards all around as Boyle was named the 2006-07 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and SO F/C Devanei Hampton became the first player in school history to be named the Pac-10 Player of the Year ... Both Hampton and Walker were named Associated Press honorable mention All-Americans ... Hampton, named to the Naismith Trophy midseason watch list, earned Kodak/WBCA honorable mention All-American status, as well ... The Golden Bears are in good standing to vie for the Pac-10 title next season as they return all but three seniors, and welcome back the 2005-06 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, G Alexis Gray-Lawson, who sat out much of the year with an ACL injury.
OREGON (17-14, 8-10)
Oregon finished the year with a 17-14 overall record, 8-10 in league play, along with the Pac-10's lone berth in the WNIT ... The Ducks heated up quickly in the postseason with a 70-54 rout of Santa Clara in the second round ... Five players scored in double figures and the team went 7-for-15 (.467) from long range to beat the Broncos at their own game, as they went just 5-for-19 (.263) from beyond the arc ... In third round action, Oregon traveled to Wyoming to face the Cowgirls, coming up just short in the 64-62 loss ... Wyoming went on to claim the WNIT national championship ... The Ducks came into the season as somewhat of an unknown, but concluded the year with momentum, including wins in six of their final eight Conference games ... SO Tamika Nurse and FR Taylor Lilley were solid at the guard positions, as Lilley nearly broke the Pac-10 single-season record for three point field goal percentage ... She shot 50.6 percent from long range (39-of-77), just off the record of 52.4 percent (43-of-82, Kristin Iwanaga, California) ... SR F Eleanor Haring was consistent throughout the season, leading the team, and finishing 13th in the Conference with a 12.6 points per game average ... UO will have just one senior on its roster next year, as it will have to replace the likes of Haring and four additional seniors who graduated this season ... Look for the team to build upon this year's success with a strong 2007-08.
OREGON STATE (9-19, 4-14)
Oregon State finished tied for eighth in the Pac-10 with a 4-14 league record, 9-19 overall ... The team was guided by the monster year of SR G Casey Nash who, after coming into the year averaging just 6.3 points through three seasons of play, led the Conference in scoring from start to finish, ending with an even 20.0 ppg average ... Nash also ranked 14th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 6.5 rpg ... Named to the All-Pac-10 team, she led the league with 15 20-point games, consistently guiding her team night in and night out ... The Beavers also had young success as F Judie Lomax was named to the All-Freshman team after she led the league in field goal percentage (.645) on 120-of-186 shooting ... Lomax became the first true freshman since the 1996-97 season to lead the league in this category when UCLA's Maylana Martin finished with a .559 clip (171-for-306) ... Oregon State was solid from the charity stripe, finishing second in the Conference in free throw shooting, hitting on 72.2 percent of its shots (359-of-497) ... The Beavers have a young roster that gained invaluable experience in their first year, and will be looking to build on that knowledge come next Fall.
STANFORD (29-5, 17-1)
Stanford claimed the 2006-07 Pac-10 championship, its seventh consecutive, while winning the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament title, its fourth in six seasons ... The Cardinal, 29-5 overall and 17-1 in league play, earned a No. 2 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, falling in the second round to Florida State, 68-61 ... The Cardinal opened NCAA play with a crushing, 96-58 win over Idaho State in the first round ... SR F/C Brooke Smith led all Cardinal players with 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting ... Despite the early departure from postseason, Stanford garnered a plethora of individual acclaim, led by JR G Candice Wiggins who was named a Kodak/WBCA All-American for the third straight year ... Wiggins was on virtually every watch list, including the Wooden Award, Wade and Naismith Trophies ... She also earned All-American status by the Associated Press ... FR G JJ Hones was named a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman award, given to the nation's top collegiate point guard ... Hones went down midway through the season with an ACL tear ... Smith was also honored as a Kodak/WBCA and Associated Press All-American honorable mention selection, while head coach Tara VanDerveer was named the WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year ... Wiggins will return in 2007-08 for her final season on the Farm, joined by a cast that includes Hones, FR F/C Jayne Appel and SO F Jillian Harmon, among others ... Appel was named this season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after solidifying her play in the last month of the season, including a road swing in the state of Oregon where she averaged 23.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, four assists, 1.5 blocks and two steals ... Appel also set the Stanford single-season record for blocks (61), breaking Cori Enghusen's (2001-02) mark of 58 ... Look for Stanford to come back next season hungrier than ever.
UCLA (14-18, 7-11)
UCLA played a tough schedule that no one would envy, finishing the year with a 14-18 overall record, and a 7-11 mark in Conference action ... The Bruins earned the 72-58 win over Washington State in the opening round of the Pac-10 Tournament, falling to Arizona State in the quarterfinals, 74-64 ... SR G Noelle Quinn did everything and that much more during her final collegiate campaign, getting rewarded with the No. 4 overall pick in the WNBA Draft ... Quinn finished her career as the No. 4 all-time scorer in UCLA women's basketball history with 1,829 points ... She also totaled 794 rebounds (No. 8 on the UCLA career charts) and 450 assists (No. 7 all-time) to become the only UCLA basketball player, man or woman, to record career numbers of 1,800 points, 700 rebounds and 400 assists ... She earned honorable mention All-America honors the last two seasons and first-team All-Pac-10 acclaim as a freshman, junior and senior, as well as 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors ... The Bruins will be led next season by JR F Lindsey Pluimer who finished second on the team and ninth in the Conference in scoring with a 15.5 points per game average ... UCLA also signed one of the most heralded recruiting classes in the nation, which could figure into the mix right away.
USC (17-13, 10-8)
USC was right on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 17-13 overall record and a 10-8 mark in league action for sole possession of fifth place in the Pac-10 ... The Women of Troy faced a season full of injuries, but stayed together and put up victories in eight of their nine Conference games during the mid-season stretch ... USC advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament, defeating Washington in the process, 81-77 ... The Trojans return the bulk of their roster, while gaining a few back from injuries, as well, but will have to move forward without the services of SR G Shay Murphy, who was drafted in the second round as the 15th overall pick by the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx ... Murphy ranks No. 10 all-time in career scoring with 1,492 points, becoming one of only 20 Women of Troy to break the 1,000-point mark at USC ... She also stands out as just the seventh Trojan to have repeat 30-point games in a single season ... Her 3-point shot also holds her at No. 1 in USC's 3-point shooting charts with 181 career threes - 69 of which came this season, and 67 as a junior ... Murphy also held a 47-game double-digit scoring streak spanning the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, hitting double figures in all but one game for the Trojans as a senior ... It will be interesting to see what USC can do with a healthy roster next season, bringing back perimeter players in JR G Camille LeNoir from a hip injury, JR G Brynn Cameron, who took the year off, and highly-regarded FR G Jacki Gemelos who returns from an ACL injury ... Look for USC to continue wrecking havoc on its competition in 2007-08.
WASHINGTON (18-13, 11-7)
Washington earned its second consecutive NCAA berth, following its 18-13 season, 11-7 mark in Conference play ... The Huskies claimed the No. 11 seed in the Dallas portion of the bracket, but were edged by the sixth-seeded Iowa State Cyclones, 79-60 in the first round ... SR G Cameo Hicks notched 19 points, including a 4-for-8 mark from long range, to go along with her three rebounds and three assists ... Hicks was joined in double figures by SR F Breanne Watson who picked up 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting ... The Huskies will face the task of going without Hicks next season, their leader and starter for the past four years ... Hicks, a preseason candidate for both the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week and tallied 29 double-figure scoring efforts in 31 games - including a 20-game streak in which she averaged 18.8 points ... Hicks finished her career ranked 11th on Washington's all-time scoring list with 1,472 points ... Playing a game without Hicks won't be the only difference as newly appointed head coach Tia Jackson will surely bring a new system, in hopes to take the Washington team to the next level in 2007-08 ... UW can build upon its offense and rebounding as it finished second in the Conference in scoring offense (71.5 ppg) and ranked atop the league in offensive boards all season (16.74) ... What surely won't change is the team's blue-collar commitment, getting the dirty work done off of second chance opportunities.
WASHINGTON STATE (5-24, 1-17)
Washington State earned five victories over the span of this year's season, finishing at 5-24 and 1-17 in Conference play ... SR F Kate Benz, albeit limited by her back injury, had another solid season, finishing her career just one rebound shy of the 900-rebound plateau ... Benz did earn WSU's all-time rebounding crown however, as she ended with 899 boards ... Benz became the first Cougar to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding when she accomplished the feat in 2005 and 2006 and averaged eight rebounds per game throughout her career ... She also finished with 1,000 points and finished in 11th place in school history ... Things will also look different on the Palouse as head coach Sherri Murrell resigned after the season concluded ... The new coach will inherit a talented squad led by the likes of FR F Marisa Stotler, SO G Katie Appleton and SO G Amanda DuRocher ... Stotler ranked seventh in the Pac-10 in steals (1.76), while DuRocher, lethal from long range, finished seventh in the Conference in three point field goals made with a 1.32 average (28-of-37).