2007-08 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Guide
Oct. 26, 2007
ARIZONA OUTLOOK: Arizona returns eight letterwinners and four starters from its 2006-07 campaign ... The Wildcats are led by SR G Ashley Whisonant, who finished second on the team and 15th in the Conference in scoring (11.9 ppg) ... Whisonant dished out 112 assists last season, good enough to rank eighth in the league (3.61 apg) ... JR F Amina Njonkou led the team in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and finished second in field goal percentage (.456) ... Also expected to figure into the scoring mix is SR G Jessica Arnold, who led the team in free throw percentage (.763) and hit 32 three-point shots to rank second on the team behind graduated G Joy Hollingsworth ... UA was hit hard by injuries last year, but look for improved depth this season, especially among the post players ... Arizona is tested early as it opens the season at the WBCA/Basketball Travelers Classic, facing Penn State, Pittsburgh and UNC-Charlotte in University Park, Pa. ... The Wildcats should build on last year's late-season momentum that saw them win four games, including the opening round of the State Farm Pac-10 Tournament, as well as an undefeated (5-0) foreign tour of Italy during the Spring of 2007.
ARIZONA STATE OUTLOOK: Expectations are high in Tempe as Arizona State is coming off of a 31-5 season, one win shy of the Final Four ... The Sun Devils return their entire backcourt, and what a lineup it is ... ASU is led by GRAD G Jill Noe, SR G Reagan Pariseau, JR G Briann January, JR G Danielle Orsillo, JR G Kate Engelbrecht and SO G Dymond Simon ... All are capable ball-handlers, three-point threats and defensive specialists who will see plenty of time on the court ... January is the team's leading returning scorer, having averaged 10.2 ppg last season ... She also finished the season fourth in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.67) ... Noe has 107 career three-pointers under her belt and should better that number in her final campaign ... The Sun Devils will have a different look in the post as F Emily Westerberg and F Aubree Johnson have both graduated ... Look for a standout sophomore season from F/C Kayli Murphy, as well as improvement from 6-6 JR C Kirsten Thompson ... Arizona State won't waste any time as it begins the season at the State Farm Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic, taking on preseason No. 7 North Carolina.
CALIFORNIA OUTLOOK: California returns virtually its entire roster from last year's 23-9 campaign, its first 20-win season in 15 years ... The Bears are led by 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year, JR F/C Devanei Hampton who finished the season averaging 16.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg ... Joining Hampton in the post for one of the toughest combinations in women's basketball is JR F/C Ashley Walker, who paced the team last season with 17.3 ppg, ranking third in the Conference ... Cal will welcome back JR G Alexis Gray-Lawson from a torn ACL, as she will likely share the point with SO G Natasha Vital, who averaged 33.1 mpg and 4.0 apg in her first collegiate campaign ... Arguably the most athletic team in the Conference, the Bears are strong defensively as they gave up an average of just 60 ppg last season, which ranked third in the league ... Further, their 37% field goal defense ranked second ... The Bears have their work cut out for them as they face tough non-conference opponents, including November dates at UC Riverside, TCU and Baylor, as well as a home contest with New Mexico, all of which competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
OREGON OUTLOOK: Oregon's 2006-07 late-season push in which it won six of its final 10 regular season games should help build momentum for the Ducks who are accustomed to being at the top of the Pac-10 ... UO is led by JR G Tamika Nurse who had a breakout season as a sophomore, averaging 9.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.3 apg and 0.8 spg ... Nurse, who reached double figure scoring in 14 games last season, is joined by SR G Kaela Chapdelaine, a solid three-point shooter who has connected on 33.7% of her career attempts from long range (68-of-202) ... Also strong from the outside is SO G Taylor Lilley who led the Conference in three-point field goal percentage last season (.506, 39-of-77), finishing just shy of the Pac-10 single season record of .524 ... The Ducks have a favorable schedule as they open the season with three home games at McArthur Court, then hit the road in late November for the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament ... The competition will be tough, however, as UO takes on 2007 NCAA Tournament teams in Marquette and Baylor, before opening Pac-10 play against traditional rival Oregon State in Corvallis.
OREGON STATE OUTLOOK: Oregon State, with an equal mix of six returners and six newcomers, looks to improve upon last year's eighth-place finish in the Pac-10 ... OSU's strength lies on its perimeter as JR G Mercedes Fox-Griffin and SR G Ashley Allen lead the way ... Fox-Griffin is a phenomenal passer, averaging 6.43 apg last season to pace the Conference ... She also ranked sixth in steals (1.79) and returns as the team's leading scorer at 9.5 ppg ... Allen finished right behind her with a 7.6 ppg average, heating things up from beyond the arc ... She sunk 33 treys to rank 10th in the league, averaging 1.18 per contest ... Also returning to the court after sitting out the 2006-07 season is 6-2 JR C Tiffany Ducker ... A strong presence in the paint, Ducker has 79 career blocks and 327 career rebounds ... She finished her sophomore campaign as the league's second-leading shot-blocker, averaging 1.58 swats per contest ... Bolstering the Beavers' inside game will be three new freshmen post players, none smaller than 6-3 ... Oregon State opens the season in Gill Coliseum with a pair of games, before hitting the UNLV Classic for tournament play.
STANFORD OUTLOOK: The seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford Cardinal are back for another shot at a Conference title and beyond ... SR G Candice Wiggins, who can single-handedly turn a game around, leads the way as a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and certainly the league's most decorated returning player ... Wiggins fought through a couple of injuries last season to still score 16.9 ppg, ranking sixth in the Pac-10 ... Last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year SO F/C Jayne Appel should play a larger role on this year's team, as she takes over in the paint ... SO G JJ Hones, who went down with an ACL tear mid-season, returns to what could be a point guard by committee, joining capable sophomore guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Melanie Murphy ... JR F Jillian Harmon is a steady threat on the wing, with a career average of 8.1 ppg ... There is no rest for the weary as Stanford takes on tough non-conference opponents in 2007-08, starting first with contests against Connecticut and Old Dominion at the Paradise Jam in November ... The team will also take on NCAA Tournament participants Baylor and New Mexico, as well as defending national champion Tennessee.
UCLA OUTLOOK: UCLA SR F Lindsey Pluimer, who has quietly put together an impressive three-year career in which she has started 92 games, averaging 12.2 ppg and 5.8 rpg, will carry the load for the Bruins in 2007-08 ... The lone senior on the roster, Pluimer can play down low, as well as outside on the perimeter ... Joining her in the post is JR F/C Chinyere Ibekwe who averaged 7.7 ppg and 6.6 rpg her sophomore campaign ... Pluimer and Ibekwe both finished in the Top-10 in field goal percentage as Ibekwe hit at a .503 clip (99-of-197) to rank eighth in the league and Pluimer notched a .488 mark (186-of-381) to rank 10th ... Head coach Kathy Olivier delivered one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, touted as high as No. 3 by The All Star Girls Report ... Donning the blue and gold this season will include high school teammates 6-3 C Regina Rogers and 6-4 F Christina Nzekwe ... Rogers was regarded as the nation's No. 6 center by HoopGurlz.com, while Nzekwe was considered one of the nation's top 12 forwards by the same publication ... The Bruins have a daunting non-conference schedule as they host defending national champion Tennessee, as well as 2007 NCAA Tournament participants Maryland and UC Riverside.
USC OUTLOOK: USC comes into the 2007-08 season with more depth than it has had in a long time, led by the return of JR G Camille LeNoir, who finished her sophomore campaign as the team's second leading scorer (12.7 ppg) ... Also joining her on the perimeter after sitting out last season is JR G Brynn Cameron, who ranked No. 25 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.409) as a freshman ... The Women of Troy have a solid tandem in the middle as SR C Markisha Lea returns from injury and will be joined down low by JR C Nadia Parker who ranked sixth on the team last season with a 6.4 ppg average ... Despite all the familiar faces, USC should look quite different as it graduated four senior starters from the 2006-07 squad ... SR G/F Allison Jaskowiak, who was granted an additional season of eligibility, has seen the most recent action in the starting lineup ... The blue-collar player averaged 24.8 mpg last season, chipping in 3.1 ppg and adding 3.3 rpg, along with a handful of intangibles ... SO G/F Morghan Medlock, who earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention accolades, should see even more action as her versatile play can trouble defenses.
WASHINGTON OUTLOOK: Washington will have a new look this season as it welcomes head coach Tia Jackson to a Husky program that has finished fourth in the Pac-10 the past two seasons ... UW is led by the services of SR G Emily Florence and SR F/C Andrea Plouffe ... Plouffe is the team's leading returning scorer (10.0 ppg), while Florence led the Conference in steals last season with a 2.19 spg average, and racked up 122 assists to place sixth in the league (3.94 apg) ... Joining Florence on the perimeter is SR G Dominique Banks ... Banks played in 20 games last season despite starting out the year with double surgery to repair stress fractures in both of her legs ... Ranked as the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation by Blue Star Basketball, Washington has a talented group of newcomers that should factor in immediately ... 6-5 F/C Kali Bennett is ranked 35th in her position by the website, while 5-10 G Candice Nichols checks in at No. 63 ... The Huskies have a tough non-conference schedule, as they will play four 2007 NCAA Tournament teams in Gonzaga, Boise State, Ohio State and Purdue to prepare for Pac-10 action in late December.
WASHINGTON STATE OUTLOOK: Washington State welcomes veteran head coach June Daugherty to its bench this season after an 11-year stint at the University of Washington ... Daugherty has strong recruiting ties in the eastern part of the state, as well as Idaho and Montana, which should bode well for the Cougars in the future ... JR G Katie Appleton is the most experienced returning player and will shoulder much of the responsibility as a squad leader ... Appleton is a strong three-point threat and a solid passer ... She averaged 8.1 ppg her sophomore campaign, while chipping in 3.2 rpg ... Two athletic guards should factor in the WSU offense in SO Nakejia Kelly and SO Colleen Betteridge ... Betteridge averaged an even 22 mpg as a freshman, banking in 5.2 ppg ... Kelly played in just 16 games last season, starting two, to finish third on the team in scoring (7.6 ppg) ... WSU will face tough non-conference opponents in NC State, Texas Tech and Santa Clara, but two of those three will be played at home in Pullman as well as the opener against Portland and a four-game home stretch that includes Idaho, the Red Raiders, Boise State and San Jose State.